A special team created by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYC HPD) has identified over 3,000 zombie homes in the Big Apple. These are mostly based in areas that are still recovering from the economic distress caused during the Great Recession.
According to Leila Bozorg, Deputy Commissioner of HPD, a major part of this team's work involves collecting data on such homes and the extent of the challenge of rehabilitating these properties. She told Fox News that new laws allow them to hold financial lenders more accountable once a home falls into foreclosure.
NYC has also partnered with organizations like the Center for NYC Neighborhoods to help homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage payments to find funds and help prevent the creation of more zombie homes.
“We send people out to survey homes to try to document where are zombie homes in New York City and what’s the extent of the challenge,” Bozorg told Fox News.
New York neighborhoods such as Central Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, northern Staten Island, and parts of the Bronx, particularly, have a higher number of distressed and abandoned properties compared to the rest of the city, according to HPD data.
According to a report by Curbed, the city saw around 18,000 foreclosure filings in 2007, when the foreclosure crisis first hit New York. Today, there are at least 2,000 abandoned and deteriorated homes many of which are in the process of foreclosure.
“When so many families are struggling to find an affordable place to live, we can’t afford to allow these vacant, blighted homes that pose threats to our communities,” Matthew Creegan, a spokesperson for HPD, told Curbed. “The city’s zombie homes unit has been working to identify where these properties are and take necessary action to get them back on track.”