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Land Bank Exploring Data-Driven Pilot Effort

Adapting to a house being foreclosed upon is usually a reactive process for the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp.

But what if the land bank could be proactive to prevent a foreclosure from happening? That is a topic the land bank board has discussed the past two months as it explores an option to be part of a pilot program based on data-driven real estate investing.

“We were approached to do a pilot (program) to test a data mining and information platform that uses artificial intelligence to drive interventions in homes that are predicted to be foreclosed on,” said Gina Paradis, land bank executive director. “It uses algorithms to project out what parcels are likely to be foreclosed on during the next three to five years. It then introduces interventions that might keep that property in productive use, so it would either prevent the foreclosure or transfer the property.”

Paradis said the land bank is challenged when it comes to gathering real estate information. She said, whether the land bank enters the pilot program or not, officials need to improve the use of its private and public partners to analyze data to make informed decisions.

“We all need really good data if we are going to be strategic or proactive when it comes to housing-related issues,” she said. “Right now, that data really doesn’t exist in a comprehensive manner. We are going to explore some ways to work with an academic partner to study what we have and what we don’t have, and how we can obtain the data we need and what type of technology platform would suit us best.”

For example, Paradis said statistics like code enforcement violations and police charges should be analyzed to find properties that have citations from both entities.

“We need to identify parcels that need an intervention. We can see this if the information we have is comprehensive instead of us picking through eight different information systems,” she said.

In other business, the last two Hands-On Neighborhoods programs in Jamestown will be held Sept. 25 and Oct. 16. The Sept. 25 event will take place on Lakeview Avenue to Sturges/Thayer streets and Sixth Street to Newton Avenue. The Oct. 16 event will be from North Main Street to Winsor Street and Fourth Street to Eighth Street.

“We are looking for volunteers for these events,” she said.

The new Hands On Neighborhoods program started in Jamestown this year. The new program is a collaboration of public, private and nonprofit organizations that includes the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp., city of Jamestown, Jamestown Renaissance Corp. and Zion Covenant Church. Program sponsors include Lakeshore Savings Bank, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency and Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own rakes or brooms, but tools will be lent to those who don’t have any. An information table will be hosted to share program and resource information to residents on various homeownership, healthy housing and community health topics.

For more information on the program, visit CHQlandbank.org/handson.

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