Cities grappling with blighted properties in Missouri, Ohio, and Indiana will participate in an intensive training program.
Muncie, Indiana – Muncie 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.
“Vacant properties detract from quality of life in our city, and they are a serious missed opportunity,” commented Mayor Dan Ridenour. “Turning unsafe properties into new housing, green space, parks, and businesses benefits everyone.”
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
The delegation from Muncie includes representation from local government, the non-profit sector, Ball State University, and local community leadership. Participating in the VPLI, provides key decision-makers in Muncie to learn about new solutions that address the root causes of vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties.
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.
About the City of Muncie: Muncie, Indiana, is a city of about 65,000. Initially gaining momentum during the Gas Boom, “Magic City” has been home to many major manufacturers, Ball State University, and creative icons such as Bob Ross and David Letterman. Today, Muncie looks to the future through innovative quality-of-place solutions and pursuing upwards mobility for all.
About the Center for Community Progress: The Center for Community Progress helps people to transform vacant spaces into vibrant places. Since 2010, their team of experts has provided urban, suburban, and rural communities battling systemic vacancy with the policies, tools, and resources needed to address the full cycle of property revitalization. As the only national nonprofit dedicated to tackling vacant properties, Community Progress drives change by uncovering and disrupting the unjust, racist systems that perpetuate entrenched vacancy and property deterioration. Community Progress has delivered customized, expert guidance to leaders in over 300 communities and provided hundreds of hours of free educational resources as well as leadership programming to help policymakers, practitioners, and community members across the country return properties to productive use. To learn more and get help for your community, visit communityprogress.org.
About the Wells Fargo Foundation: VPLI is made possible by grant funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation. This grant is part of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s efforts to keep more than 200,000 people affected by COVID-19 housed with grants to nonprofit housing organizations across the U.S. Overall, the Wells Fargo Foundation has donated over $225 million to assist people and communities affected by COVID-19.
About Truist: Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business, and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.
About Truist Charitable Fund: The Truist Charitable Fund is a donor-advised fund created by Truist and administered by The Winston-Salem Foundation.