What is the Toolkit?

This toolkit was designed to help New Orleans communities develop smart, effective strategies for reducing the number of blighted properties in their area in order to improve the quality of life for residents. To learn more about what is covered in the rest of the toolkit and who the authors are, click on the image below and then use the arrows to click through the slide show. Give the slides a second or two to load if you click the arrow and they don’t change right away. Then, use the little “x” at the upper right of the black box to come back here when you’re done.

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Why Make this Toolkit?: The Zion City Story

We based this toolkit on Zion City’s neighborhood experience fighting blight – and planning for their future – over the last year. Click the image below to read Zion City’s story in a slide show and get a sense of what’s coming up in the rest of the toolkit. Give the slides a second or two to load if they don’t change right away when you click the right or left arrows. (Use the little “x” at the upper right corner of the black box to come back here when you’re done.)

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Section 1 – Defining the Issue: Blight and Community Mapping

In this section, we discuss the size of the blight problem in New Orleans, and then dive into how you and your neighbors can conduct a community survey or mapping process to get a sense of the number and type of blighted properties in your community. Click the picture below to see how this works (and use the little “x” in the upper right of the black box to come back here when you’re done).

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Section 2 – Diving Into Data: Property Research Tools

How do you find out who owns a blighted property, or when the owner last paid their tax bill? How do you know where a property is in the code enforcement process, once you report it to 311? Click the image below to get the answers and learn why property research is an important part of your neighborhood action planning on blight. (Use the little “x” in the upper right of the black box to come back here when you’re done.)

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Section 3 – Know Your Real Estate Market to Find Your Best Blight Solutions

When it comes to finding blight tools, policies, and programs that will work well in your community, property values and the real estate “market” matter a lot. In some places, it costs more to build a house than you can sell it for when it’s finished – these places tend to have more blight because fewer people are interested in building. In other places, high property values can lead to people speculating and holding onto vacant property with the hope of selling it later. Click on the picture below to see slides with more details on this topic, and hear about approaches that work for different market types.

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Section 4 – Using Policy & Legal Tools to Clean Up or Acquire Blighted Properties

What’s a tax sale, anyway? And have you ever run into an “adjudicated” property? What’s the process for code enforcement? Can I work out an arrangement to use an existing owner’s land? This section goes through the Louisiana policy and legal tools that allow neighbors to clean up, productively use, or purchase blighted properties. Click the picture below to look through the slides and get the information.

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Section 5 – Planning for Action with Your Community

You can use your understanding of the number of blighted properties in your community, your property research, your real estate market, and your policy knowledge to generate a strong action plan together with your neighbors. This section offers tools and ideas for conducting an action planning session and deciding on your short-term and long-term strategies for blight reduction.

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