Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
To speed up the process of turning abandoned houses back into residences, Indianapolis' land bank has launched an online listing of abandoned homes.
The last time Indianapolis surveyed abandoned properties under its jurisdiction, the number came to 7,913. That was in 2003, before recent job losses, bankruptcies and foreclosures worsened the city's abandoned-housing problem. To speed up the process of turning abandoned houses back into residences, the city's land bank has launched an online listing of abandoned homes. The new Web site, indylandbank.com, lets users browse listings and, for $200, submit applications to purchase homes and their lots, which cost between $1,000 and $9,500. Hoping to make neighborhoods safer, the Indy Land Bank is also offering special deals to police officers: Paying no more than $2,500, officers can acquire an abandoned property as long as they agree to live in the house for three years. Houses purchased through the land bank come with a clean title -- free of any liens or back taxes. Indianapolis' Web site is similar to efforts in other localities, including Wayne County, Mich., which has one of the largest online land banks with over 50,000 abandoned properties.