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Local

Statewide program will address zombie home issue

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A statewide action to address the growing problem of zombie homes will benefit local municipalities. The Tonawandas, along with the Towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga and West Seneca will be receiving funds to address the vacant and deteriorating homes in their areas. The Attorney General's office is distributing nearly $13 million across the state to battle this blight. The money stems from a multibillion dollar settlement with Morgan Stanley. Kate Lockhart of the Western New York Law Center believes the program is broad enough to bring real solutions.

"The hardest part of this problem is identifying the problem upfront - who's involved, what's going on with each individual property - and then we can find tailored solutions for each individual property, as well as find ways to prevent more homes from becoming zombie foreclosures, so do more targeted outreach to homeowners so that people are aware of their rights and their responsibilities with regard to their properties."

The grant monies were awarded through the Zombie Remediation and Prevention Initiative, and the program is being overseen by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

It is estimated that there are 16,000 zombie homes across the state.