- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York’s attorney general has awarded $12.6 million in grants to 76 local governments to help them deal with “zombie homes,” vacant properties that often fall into neglect as the foreclosure process drags on.

Without regular maintenance, houses can become an eyesore or even a haven for crime, dragging down nearby property values and neighborhoods.

There are an estimated 16,000 statewide.

The grants range from $52,500 to $350,000 for cities, towns and villages with at least 100 vacant properties to bolster code enforcement, monitor properties and ensure banks and mortgage companies maintain vacant houses with foreclosures pending.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Tuesday the grants should help stabilize communities.

They come from a $3.2 billion national settlement negotiated by his office with Morgan Stanley over its troubled mortgage-backed securities.

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