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City launches ‘zombie team’ to track neighborhood eyesores, turn them into affordable housing

Posted: 5:26 PM, Jul 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-01 13:00:34-04

NEW YORK — The City just got new funding for a new team focusing on cracking down on NYC Zombie properties, which have been abandoned and are in the foreclosure process.

Christie Peale, the CEO of the Center for New York City Neighborhoods , a group that helps families stay in their homes , says zombie properties not only bring down property values, they also frustrate the families who live next to them.

“I want this to be affordable home ownership,” said Peale.

Zombie properties are magnets for rodents, squatters and garbage.

“They are in every neighborhood they are especially in neighborhoods hit hard by the foreclosure crisis,” said Deputy Commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development Lelia Bozorg.

Bozorg estimates there are between up to 4,000 zombie properties right now making neighborhoods look bad all across the city.

"What we are able to do is hold the banks accountable, maintaining these properties while they are in limbo during the foreclosure process,” said Bozorg.

Bozorg has a new “zombie” team hitting the streets. The de Blasio administration just received a grant of almost half a million dollars from a non profit organization to help beef up their team, track these eyesores and turn them into affordable housing.
Bozorg says the timing is just right.

In 2016, the city was empowered by a zombie property law that required financial institutions to inspect properties that have become late on mortgages.
Then in 2017 , a city zombie team put into place. Now in2019, Bozorg says she has half a million dollars to take the crackdown to a whole new level.

But the city needs residents to get involved.

Center for NYC Neighborhoods can be reached at 311 or at 646-786-0888.

Call 311 to report a zombie home or visit nyc.gov/zombie-homes