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Pennsylvania governor signs land bank bill

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Community Progress President and CEO, Tamar Shapiro, joined Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, State Representatives Chris Ross and John Taylor as well as numerous housing and community development advocates for a ceremonial land bank bill signing in Northeast Philadelphia on Jan. 17. The result of years of work by advocates and forward-thinking legislators, the law allows municipalities with populations of 10,000 or more to establish land banks to acquire, manage and repurpose vacant, abandoned and tax-foreclosed properties to support local land use planning goals.
 
For two years, Community Progress worked with Pennsylvania Rep. Chris Ross, who chaired the House Urban Affairs Committee; Rep. John Taylor, who headed the land bank legislation; and Sen. Gene Yaw, chair of the Senate’s Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, to share the best practices in land banking and how communities in Pennsylvania could benefit. One of the key statewide advocacy organizations that led the charge for the legislation was the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania (HAP); Community Progress is pleased to continue working with HAP to educate and train the state’s local leaders about the new opportunity and to work with local governments to take the next step in creating land banks throughout the State of Pennsylvania.
 
With 300,000 vacant properties across the state, including an estimated 40,000 in Philadelphia and 19,000 in Pittsburgh, the law is being heralded as an important step forward by urban, suburban and rural legislators and activists alike.
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