Shrinking Cities

Federal Initiatives


Community Regeneration, Sustainability, and Innovation Act of 2009
The Act is proposed legislation by Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Sherrod Brown.

The Act would create a new pilot grant program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population loss. The Act is structured with performance-based standards that would build the capacity of the local government to prevent, demolish, manage and reclaim vacant properties. Eligible activities include:

  • Implementing multi-jurisdictional or regional approaches to addressing the problem of vacant and abandoned property.
  • Reusing properties in ways that will provide long-term benefits to the public, whether through the creation of green infrastructure, economic development, or other strategies.
  • Encouraging innovation, experimentation, and environmentally sustainable practices
  • Creating new and sustainable employment opportunities for residents; and
  • Starting or expanding land banks that establish public control over vacant and abandoned property.

The Act provides the following stimulus to the affected areas:

  • Regeneration Communities Demonstration Program: A $300 million demonstration program that would authorize the selection of ten applicants per year – 15 small cities (population of 150,000 or less) and 15 large cities (population exceeding 150,000) over the three-year period ($100 million per year).
  • Strategic Regeneration Planning: For those communities that need planning assistance, a one-time planning grant could be awarded to develop plans prior to their submission to HUD.
  • Sustainability Demonstration Projects: Authorizes a competitive and innovative program specific grant for short-term demonstration projects that are in accordance with the Regeneration Act’s sustainability goals.

Additional information regarding the Community Regeneration, Sustainability, and Innovation Act of 2009 (S.453 / H.R.932) may be found from the National Vacant Properties Campaign.  For the status of Co-Sponsors, please check Rebuilding the Cities that Built America,a website dedicated to promoting the bill.

Neighborhood Stabilization

The Recovery Act provides a $2 billion appropriation for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The NSP program is a competitive grant and the funding is available to non-profit organizations, as well as state and local governments. The NSP program is a function of the Community Development Block Grant (CFBG). Grantees must use at least 25 percent of the NSP funds for the purchase and redevelopment of abandoned or foreclosed homes or residential properties that will be used to house individuals or families whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the area median income. All activities funded by the NSP must benefit individuals with less than 120 percent of the area median income.

The following activities are eligible for NSP funding: 

  • Establish financing mechanisms for purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed homes and residential properties;
  • Purchase and rehabilitate homes and residential properties abandoned or foreclosed;
  • Establish land banks for foreclosed homes;
  • Demolish blighted structures;
  • Redevelop demolished or vacant properties

The grant applications for NSP-2 were due to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 17, 2009.

For more information regarding NSP-2 visit HUD’s website at