What does the Task Force Do?
The Task Force started with an idea. How can we best deal with the problems surrounding vacant and abandoned properties? Since our formation, the Task Force has tried to connect these vacant properties with prospective owners, hold banks accountable for their upkeep and prompt turnover and affect legislation surrounding vacants in Monroe County. Besides issuing a report in October of 2016, which is now being revised, we have held our first Home Fair in October of 2017 and are partnering with SONYMA and Flower City Habitat for Humanity to bring Neighborhood Spruce Up to Rochester.
Who are the Task Force's Members?
While the Task Force was started with Adam Bello and Rebecca Caico as Co-Chairs we have had some changes since its inception. We now have Fiona Wolfe of Empire Justice Center taking the helm with Adam as of January 1st 2018. Since our report was issued we have hired people to monitor and work on Vacant Properties and someone to handle our administrative tasks as well as be the point of contact person for the Task Force. The rest of the Task Force is made up of various community members, who on a volunteer basis, devote their time to the Task Force and its main objectives. For a full list of participating members click here
Why has this house been empty so long?
There are so many reasons why a house becomes vacant, even more reasons why it stays that way for so long. Often times there is a lack of information about just who owns the house. The Task Force focuses on addressing concerns on a case by case basis and when we can forcing the issue with code enforcement, contacting the bank/owner/property manager. As always if you believe that a home is vacant always start the process by reporting it to the New York State Vacant Property Registry by calling this # 1-800-342-3736
Where can I get a list of vacancies?
This is one of our most asked questions and until recently the answer has been that we do not have a publicly accessible list of vacant properties. Just this spring, the city of Rochester rolled out a new program called Building Blocks which is a part of a 2 year grant from the NYS Attorney Generals office. Building Blocks is a comprehensive GIS mapping program which places all the data the City collects on properties and puts it all in one place. Building Blocks will allow you to search the City data with many different filters including Vacant, demo, code violations, etc in order to make an accurate assessment of a particular home or area of interest. Eventually there will be an option to log in for constituents and the ability to compile and cross filter info for many uses.