New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says there is $21 million in new funds to help land banks purchase vacant and abandoned properties, sometimes known as "zombie homes."
The 18 land banks in New York State can apply for the funds, which are part of an $8 billion settlement with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi, a board director for the Suffolk County Landbank, says they will apply for the funds to help combat brownfields and other blighted properties.
“The hope is to get the contamination cleaned up, put them back on the tax roll, and recoup some of the money that the taxpayers have, until now, shelled out,” Climi says.
The Suffolk County Landbank is focusing its efforts on Brookhaven, Babylon and Islip, the three towns most affected by vacant properties. In October, those towns received over $700,000, from a pool of $13 million, in federal grants given directly to municipalities to deal with the problem.