Memphis has been selected as one of three 2017 scholarship recipients in the Center for Community Progress’ national Technical Assistance Scholarship Program (TASP). Technical assistance delivered through the scholarship program will assess local and state legal systems pertaining to receivership and property tax enforcement.

Through TASP, the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), a national nonprofit, helps communities break new ground in their efforts to address property vacancy, abandonment, and deterioration. Community Progress then shares best practices developed through TASP with its national audience.

Assistance in Memphis will identify reforms that will support the transfer of clear, marketable title to the Blight Authority of Memphis (BAM). This project will be an innovative, tangible example of how receivership can work alongside property tax enforcement and land banking to support clear, marketable title for properties.

Blight Authority of Memphis’ mission is to convert vacant, abandoned, foreclosed or tax delinquent properties into productive use, to reduce light, to increase property values, and to improve the quality of life in Memphis neighborhoods. Center for Community Progress is a national leader in the efforts to convert vacant and blighted property into productive uses and has helped cities across the country deal with issues of blight and abandonment.

“Memphis will benefit greatly from Center for Community Progress’ expertise in developing innovative solutions to bring abandoned and blighted property back to life,” says Sheila Jordan Cunningham, Executive Director of BAM. “The result of this process should be returning blighted properties to the tax rolls and improving Memphis neighborhoods”

“Our administration is focused on reducing blight — both to aid our core city’s renaissance and to simply give every Memphian a neighborhood they can be proud of,” says Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. “We’re grateful for this assistance from the Center for Community Progress, which we think will only further amplify what we’re doing in Memphis.”

Through TASP, recipient communities will receive up to 400 hours of assistance from a team of national experts over eight months between April and November 2017. Assistance may include a diagnosis of the most pressing problems, evaluation of current systems and strategies, and recommendations on solutions that involve key government decision-makers, residents, and other stakeholders.

Memphis and the other recipients were chosen through a competitive process, which included a written application round followed by an in-person site assessment for five finalists. Proposed projects are reviewed on a range of criteria, including the potential for innovation from which other cities can learn, demonstrated leadership to implement reform, overall scale of vacancy challenges, and need for outside assistance.