What can cities do with all their vacant properties? The city of Buffalo is trying to sell theirs for a buck.
The Urban Homesteading Program sells vacant property to homesteaders under the conditions that they will begin making immediate improvements and eventually bring the property up to code. Once renovations have been made the homesteader also agrees to live in the property.
WKWB, in Buffalo, reports on one of the most recent sales, the Lyth Cottage, built in 1886:
Newton paid the city a buck for the house and pledged to bring the historic building up to code and live in it for at least five years. This is all part of the "Buffalo Homestead Program" that helps to save distressed, tax foreclosed homes from demolition in the Hamlin Park Historic District on the city's East Side.
"Lots of people have been pushing Buffalo to where they want it to be so I'm doing nothing new but I'm glad to be a part of it," Newton said.
Tim Tielman with the Campaign for Greater Buffalo said it would help grow the area.
"What they wanted to do is look at the history here, capture it, use it as a basis for economic development. This is a very successful example," Tielman said.
It's definitely a win-win for both the city and the homesteader. The buyer gets a deal on the property and the city not only gets a vacant property off its hands, but it improves the neighborhood, retrofits a historic property, and brings stability to the neighborhood with the buyer agreeing to live there.