Kokomo is one of ten municipalities across three states that have been selected to send a delegation to the 2023 Vacant Property Leadership Institute (VPLI). VPLI is a training program that equips leaders with the skills to address vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties for the benefit of their communities. Made possible through the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation and the Truist Charitable Fund, VPLI is a program of the Center for Community Progress, the only national nonprofit dedicated to tackling vacant and abandoned properties.
“I am excited for the Kokomo delegation to learn best practices for addressing vacant, abandoned and deteriorated properties in our community,” said Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore. “The VPLI’s program will provide us the tools needed to make our community safer and more attractive.”
Delegations from each of the following municipalities will participate:
- Indiana: Gary, Kokomo, Muncie
- Missouri: Columbia, Springfield, St. Louis City, St. Louis County
- Ohio: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton
Cities were selected through a competitive application process. The selected cities include rural, suburban, and urban communities and range in population from about 60,000 to nearly 1 million. They also face similar challenges such as high rates of vacancy, faulty mortgage foreclosure processes, tax delinquency, ineffective property maintenance systems, and other issues.
“Each municipality participating in this year’s training program was selected because they demonstrated strong leadership, are committed to racial equity, and represent unique opportunities for developing new solutions to shifting the systems responsible for vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties,” said Courtney Knox, Interim President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress.
At the in-person training November 7-10 in Austin, Texas, delegations will receive hands-on training from top experts on urban policy and equitable community revitalization. Immediately following VPLI, Community Progress will invite participating cities to apply for a Technical Assistance Award to make the lessons from VPLI actionable. A total of 1,000 hours of customized, expert guidance from our technical assistance team will be divided among the awarded communities to help each community shape and sustain policy, practice, and process changes to address vacancy and abandonment.
Participants of past Vacant Property Leadership Institutes have gone on to pass state and local laws that enable them to fight problem properties more effectively, implemented comprehensive revitalization solutions in some of their most vulnerable communities, broken down agency and sector silos, and developed lasting, fruitful relationships with peers in their cities and states, and across the country.
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