Land banking

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help facilitate investments in housing. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Community-owned or public entities that acquire troubled properties and transform them into community assets such as affordable housing, commercial properties, or open spaces
  • State and local governments often partner with land banks in providing low- or no-cost purchases of foreclosed properties, clearing titles, waiving taxes, etc.

Evidence and impacts

Strong

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • Helps revitalize declining neighborhoods, accelerates community development, and promotes more economically integrated neighborhoods
  • Demolitions of unsafe buildings help reduce blight, increasing home equity and property values in the surrounding area

Best practices in implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Partner closely with community organizations, lenders, and others to identify distressed assets and to plan for acquisitions and repurposing of such land.
  • Evaluate and pursue a range of potential income sources, including foundation grants, government contracts, land sales, dedicated tax collection, developer fees, and rental income.
  • Create a set of clear, straightforward standards and measures of success for transactions and investment that align with community needs and public policy priorities.
  • Actively disseminate investment and transactions standards across the community and solicit feedback, including via public forums, written materials, and the creation of a community advisory council.
  • Develop a diverse investment portfolio and regularly search for abandoned or foreclosed properties that retain some market value; seek to avoid only acquiring properties in extreme distress.