According to a press release from Schenectady County, the Capital Region Land Bank has received a $3 million grant from the New York State Attorney General’s office, $500,000 of which will be allocated for use by the City of Amsterdam to rehabilitate abandoned homes in at-risk neighborhoods.
The city’s participation in the land bank program with Schenectady County and the City of Schenectady, enjoys unanimous support from both Mayor Ann Thane and members of the Common Council, who voted last February to contribute $15,000 to the program, and voted last September to approve another contribution in the same amount.
Robert Purtell, Chariman of the city’s advisory board for the land bank has said in past discussions with the Common Council, that funding from the city was important in order to show community buy-in for the idea, something which he believed the Attorney General’s office was looking for when deciding on awarding grant money.
According to the release, the grant proposal was put together with several officials from Schenectady as well as Nick Zabawsky from the City of Amsterdam.
Funds for the various land banks in New York State come from a $25 billion settlement in 2012 with the five largest mortgage servicers in the country, Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, who were investigated by federal authorities and were accused of routinely and illegally foreclosing on homes without following proper procedures.