News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 28, 2012
Kansas City and Bank of America working together to stabilize neighborhoods and support the Green Impact Zone and other City initiatives
Includes donation of vacant properties to stabilize, revitalize neighborhoods
City of Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James and Bank of America officials announced a joint effort to help alleviate the impact of vacant properties in Kansas City neighborhoods and the community at large. The initiatives include the donation of vacant, foreclosed properties by Bank of America to the City as well as to nonprofit organizations for reuse, redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization.
"Bank of America is committed to a comprehensive neighborhood stabilization approach to help support our customers and the communities we serve and live in," said Spence Heddens, Kansas City market president, Bank of America. “The programs we are announcing here have been customized to support strategies already championed by City leaders and Congressman Cleaver to maintain a strong and vibrant Kansas City.”
"Throughout our City, the worst recession in a generation has taken its toll. Involving private partners, like Bank of America, is part of the solution. Our neighborhoods cannot be reborn as long as every other house is boarded up or in disrepair. We can build the population of our urban core, but it will take innovative thinking and programs that join public and private interest. The partnership announced today will reinvest in the heart of our city. My thanks to Bank of America and the dozens of City staff who helped to make this program a reality," added Mayor Sly James.
“This is another step forward in our fight to revitalize Kansas City’s economy, create jobs and encourage innovative ideas for more public-private partnerships,” said Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II from Missouri’s Fifth District. “The government cannot and should not, do it all. It is in working together that we are able to attract private participation in all city neighborhoods, including the Green Impact Zone. I applaud all of the hundreds of people who have worked tirelessly on this effort. It is with these types of joint efforts that we are able to move closer to achieving our goal of sustainable, viable and prospering neighborhoods throughout the community.”
"This was a team effort to build a partnership for the benefit of residents throughout Kansas City. We are seeing real momentum toward finally tackling the difficult task of rebuilding and repopulating our urban neighborhoods. Even with a focus on our hardest hit neighborhoods, this program will help residents in every corner of Kansas City. This is truly great news and moves us towards our goal ofensuringevery Kansas Citian has a safe and healthy place to call home," said Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo.
Bank of America is committed to continue working with the City to identify and assist homeowners who may be in danger of foreclosure and carry on proactive programs of outreach and education. This includes person-to-person interaction at the bank’s mortgage customer assistance center opened recently in Overland Park, sponsorship and participation in foreclosure prevention events and ongoing support of non-profit organizations offering homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention counseling, among other efforts.
Unfortunately, many homeowners faced with unemployment, underemployment and other economic hardships have transitioned to alternative housing situations, and in many cases have walked away from their homes, leaving behind vacant and deteriorating properties that can cause neighborhood blight.
To address the growing issue of abandoned properties, Bank of America will engage in several measures in collaboration with the City of Kansas City, Mo.:
The City and Bank of America will work to identify vacant and abandoned properties and move them through the foreclosure process so they can be returned to stable, productive use.
Low-value, vacant and abandoned properties will be identified and offered for sale to for-profit or non-profit developers engaged in rehabilitation; donation; and demolition or deconstruction of structures that cannot be rehabilitated.
Bank of America will offer the City an opportunity to accept up to 50 donated properties and provide funding to pay for some or all of the costs for demolition, deconstruction or repair.
Bank of America will donate up to 25 vacant, habitable properties to the Homesteading Authority to support the City’s five-year Consolidated Plan with a strategic focus on the Green Impact Zone and the neighborhoods surrounding the East Patrol Division and Crime Lab development. Some of the property donations will provide opportunities for police officers and civilian employees of the Police Department to own homes in adjacent neighborhoods. Bank of America will include a financial contribution toward renovation of each home.
Bank of America will offer a $25,000 grant to an approved non-profit as seed money to start a neighborhood-based youth corps to cut weeds/grass on vacant properties. The bank will also partner with the City to support neighborhood functions.
For media inquiries or more information, please contact John Wood, City of Kansas City, Mo., at 816-513-6562 or Rick Simon, Bank of America, at 1-800-796-8448.