Land banks are public redevelopment authorities that target distressed, low-value properties. Land banks can help prompt development by facilitating the acquisition, management, development, and transfer of vacant properties and land. Barriers to development that land banks can address include cloudy property title, code violations, back taxes, severe blight, and more. Community priorities guide land bank processes and promote putting vacant homes to their highest and best use. For more information about how land banks function, check out our illustrated guide.
For neighborhoods that are most impacted by foreclosures and vacancy, a one-by-one approach to redeveloping vacant homes will not be enough to stabilize the area. A land bank would be able to turn around an entire block, instead of rehabbing one home and leaving it to languish among vacant homes. As our Vice President of Public Policy Tom Feltner said in his testimony to the Board, “It is clear that a coordinated, broad-scale, county-wide strategy to target distressed areas and stabilize them will be necessary to facilitate a regional housing recovery.”
Over the next sixty days, the Board will form a committee chaired by MarySue Barrett of the Metropolitan Planning Council to devise the structure of the land bank and plan how it will be implemented and financed in Cook County.