Governor Cuomo Announces $100 Million Available to Combat “Zombie Properties,” Expand Homeownership Opportunities and Renovate Homes
$22 Million for the New Neighborhood Revitalization Program to Help Low- and Middle-Income New Yorkers Buy and Renovate Vacant, Distressed Properties
$27 Million in Grants to Assist Existing Eligible Homeowners with Renovations
NRP Launches During National Homeownership Month to Help Communities in
the Capital Region, Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Long Island and New York City
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $100 million in available funds to help new homebuyers purchase and renovate “Zombie” properties and assist existing low- and middle-income homeowners with major repairs and renovations. Funding is available through the New York State Homes and Community Renewal to establish the new Neighborhood Revitalization Program and provide grants for not-for-profit organizations and municipalities throughout the state to rehabilitate, repair and improve homes.
“Abandoned and foreclosed ‘zombie properties’ drag down surrounding home values and can impact the economic health and public safety of entire communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “With these new programs, we are taking action to crack down on these neighborhood blights, and help more New Yorkers achieve and maintain the American Dream of homeownership.”
Neighborhood Revitalization Program:
The Homes and Community Renewal’s Neighborhood Revitalization Program will help subsidize and finance the purchase and renovation of up to 500 foreclosed and abandoned properties for low- and middle-income New Yorkers.
The new NRP strengthens communities by preventing further decline of property values and neighborhoods due to blight, restoring properties to the tax rolls and providing communities with the revenue necessary for municipal services. The program is vital to preserving the integrity and safety of low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by vacant and abandoned properties.
The NRP is administered by HCR’s State of New York Mortgage Agency. Using data and working with local nonprofits and municipalities, SONYMA identified six target communities with a high concentration of zombie properties that are undermining coordinated local government investment in housing and economic development.
These communities have an owner-occupancy rate that sustains homeownership, a track record of strong partnerships with experienced nonprofit housing agencies that provide homeownership counseling and additional sources of gap funding. In each community, SONYMA will work with experienced real estate professionals, housing nonprofits, and mortgage lenders to identify and market eligible properties, locate qualified buyers, determine the scope and cost of renovations, and structure the mortgages. Local nonprofit homeownership counseling agencies will help administer the program and provide homebuyer education, prescreen prospective buyers, and help access additional available subsidies and resources. These agencies are responsible for ensuring that renovations are code compliant. SONYMA also requires prospective purchasers to complete a homebuyer education class as a prerequisite to receiving funds through the NRP.
Financed with $22 million in JPMorgan Chase settlement funds, NRP home purchases will be made through SONYMA’s Purchase Renovation Mortgage, which allows qualified low- and middle-income buyers to receive up to $20,000 in additional funds for home improvements with zero interest, does not increase their mortgage payments and is forgiven over time. This financing can be used with other subsidies or grants and can be applied to all renovation expenses, permit fees, consultant fees, inspection fees and contingency funds.
The program will be implemented in the following communities:
- Capital Region: Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program
- Finger Lakes: Greater Rochester Housing Partnership
- Hudson Valley: RUPCO, PathStone and Rural Development Advisory Council
- Long Island: Long Island Housing Partnership and CDC Long Island
- New York City: Center for New York City Neighborhoods, NHS and Restored Homes HDFC
The NRP builds on the success of the Governor’s program announced last year designating industry best practices for banks and mortgage companies with a portfolio of abandoned properties. Under the terms of the program, abandoned and vacant properties are also being reported by banks and mortgage companies for inclusion in a state registry under the New York State Department of Financial Services. The New York State Department of Financial Services can then work with local officials to track and address these issues with the bank or mortgage company servicing the loan.
Grants to Support Existing Vulnerable Homeowners Repair, Improve and Remain in Their Homes:
Governor Cuomo also announced $27 million in available state and federal funding to provide resources to repair and improve homes belonging to the elderly, Veterans, Medicaid recipients, people with disabilities, and low-income families and individuals. The funds are provided through a variety of programs administered by New York State Home and Community Renewal.
Grant awards per program are as follows:
- $15 million in NYS Community Development Block Grant funding for housing rehabilitation, homeownership, manufactured housing replacement, well and septic replacement, and lateral connection assistance for low- and middle-income income individuals and families.
- $6 million in Access to Home for Veterans funding for permanent accessibility modifications to existing owner-occupied or rental dwelling units occupied by low-income veterans with disabilities.
- $1 million in Access to Home Program grant funding for permanent accessibility modifications to existing owner-occupied or rental dwelling units occupied by low-income persons with disabilities.
- $1 million in Access to Home for Medicaid Recipients Program funding for permanent accessibility modifications to existing owner-occupied or rental dwelling units occupied by persons with disabilities that also receive Medicaid assistance.
- $3.9 million in RESTORE Program grant funds to cover the cost of emergency repairs in homes owned by low- income elderly persons.
Grant applications to assist existing homeowners will be available starting on June 27th. For more information and to apply, please visit