Maloney bill would fund zombie property rehab for homeless vets

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Maloney (podium) with (L-R) Skartados, Neuhaus, McKeon, in front of
a zombie property in Newburgh

NEWBURGH – Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) has introduced legislation aimed at resolving the zombie property problem in many communities while at the same time developing residences for homeless veterans.
Maloney’s bill, announced in front of a vacant house in the City of Newburgh on Thursday, would allocate federal funds with a dual purpose.
“The idea in this bi-partisan legislation is to start a three-year pilot program at the VA for about $25 million to allow veterans’ service organizations and other NGOs like land banks to access capital, to acquire blighted properties, and then return them to the market, but then to allow veterans, particularly homeless veterans, to occupy those residences with an eye toward ownership and sustainability,” the congressman said.  “People should not fight for our country and then have to sleep on the street.”
Maloney said if adopted, the program would apply to not only Newburgh, but Port Jervis, Middletown and any other community where there are rundown zombie properties.
“It’s about home ownership,” said Michelle McKeon of RECAP, the Regional Economic Community Action Program.
Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D, Milton) endorsed the program. Neuhaus said with the adoption of an updated county sanitary code, the county will be able to join with Newburgh to crack down on zombie properties.