A partnership with the Land Bank to help private buyers of traditional financing


ALBANY – The Albany County Land Bank is now working with a Syracuse-based organization to help city residents who cannot access traditional forms of finance and who wish to purchase land property.

The partnership with Home HeadQuarters Inc., a not-for-profit housing and community development organization, aims to increase access to the resources residents need to purchase and rehabilitate real estate, especially those located in rural areas. traditionally underserved neighborhoods.

Home HeadQuarters will provide financing to qualified buyers and serve as a single point of information and resources for residents, entrepreneurs and investors looking for real estate.

The land bank’s efforts to help residents buy property in the city have been hampered by the current and historic impact of redlining – a series of discriminatory housing and lending practices.

According to an Urban Institute analysis, only 20 percent of black residents in the city own a home, compared to 68.9 percent of white residents. The comparable national rates are 71% for white residents and 41% for black residents.

About 60 percent of the land bank’s properties are located in historically marked neighborhoods.

In the Albany County Land Bank’s five years of operation, none of its first-time home buyers have been able to secure traditional first mortgage financing for properties in these demarcated neighborhoods. And many home buyers in these neighborhoods have reported difficulty finding contractors willing to work on vacant buildings in these locations.

Last year, due to fears that residents would be left out of the land bank’s efforts to put city properties back on the tax roll, the organization created an underserved communities committee.

County lawmaker Carolyn McLaughlin, who raised some of the concerns that led to the committee’s creation, said correcting disparities in the city begins with housing.

“With this partnership, we will be able to expand homeownership for those who may not be able to consider owning a home in their future,” she said.

Adam Zaranko, executive director of the land bank, said residents’ access to the capital and financing they need would serve the dual purpose of helping underserved communities in the city and putting unused properties back into the roles. taxation.

“This partnership with Home HeadQuarters will allow more people to access the resources needed to purchase and rehabilitate a vacant and abandoned Land Bank building, including members of underserved populations who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and who have been denied the opportunity to create wealth through generations of discriminatory housing and lending practices, ”he said.

The partnership also aims to help eligible entrepreneurs obtain state certification as a minority-owned business, which would open up the possibility of participating in higher-value projects.

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