Frequently asked questions
I RECEIVED A LETTER WHICH SAYS I OWE VACANT PROPERTY FEES, BUT MY PROPERTY ISN’T VACANT. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS PROJECT?
This database is maintained by Isles, a local non-profit with over 30 years of experience, on behalf of the Trenton Neighborhood Restoration Campaign (TNRC).
IS THIS DATABASE GOVERNMENT AFFILIATED?
No. Isles and the TNRC began creating this database independently in early 2014, building on earlier community-driven efforts, because vacant and abandoned properties are such a severe issue in our city. We were not commissioned, contracted, or paid by the City. While we regularly request data from the City, and the City may use our data after doing internal verification, this database is presently an independent project. However, efforts are currently underway to better integrate our data with the City’s systems.
HOW DO I PARTICIPATE IN THE HOMESTEADING PILOT PROGRAM (AKA THE "BUILDING FOR A DOLLAR" PROGRAM)?
The City is working to hire a Vacant Properties Coordinator to oversee homesteading initiatives, working with City Council to pass legislation, figuring out the detailed procedures, and identifying the actual properties. Use the City's official registration form if you would like to tell the City you're interested in partaking in this program.
IS THIS PROJECT THE CITY'S HOMESTEADING PROGRAM?
No, but our data is helping the City create and target its Homesteading Pilot program and other initiatives. We will update this site with more information once it becomes available.
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT?
Prior to this project, there was no data on where all the vacant properties in Trenton are located and what condition they're in. There was no comprehensive count of the vacant properties, no data on the scope of the problem, and no data on clusters or particularly distressed blocks - just anecdotal evidence. So a collaborative of non-profits and community members, led by Isles, conducted a citywide survey in the summer of 2014. Since then, we've been continuously updating the data based on information we receive from the City and from you. Let us know about any issues here, or by clicking the "Report an Issue" link in the info-window that pops up on a vacant property on the actual map.
WHO WAS INVOLVED IN THE VACANT PROPERTY SURVEY?
The hosts: Our survey team was hosted by 17 organizations, businesses, and individuals as it moved around the city, with support offered by many others. Special thanks to:
The NJ State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs at the Carver Youth and Family Center
Mercer Street Friends
The Greater Trenton YMCA
The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)'s Bonner Center for Community Engaged Learning
The East Trenton Collaborative
Habitat for Humanity
The Habitat ReStore
Living Hope Empowerment Center
Chester and Jazmyn Jones at the Melrose Ave. Civic Association
Bethany House of Hospitality
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Samaritan Baptist Church
Championship Bar and Grill
The Riverside Nursing Center
...and numerous other community members, civic associations, friends, and supporters.
WHAT WERE THE SURVEY COSTS AND HOW WAS IT FUNDED?
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT?
The field survey was completed in just seven weeks, and a couple months were taken to streamline and publish the data.
WILL THE DATA BE UPDATED?
Yes. While we have no immediate plans to repeat the citywide survey, Isles will update the baseline data either weekly or monthly (depending on traffic) based on information from stakeholders, the City of Trenton, and you. Several of you have already gotten in touch to flag errors, or to note that a building has recently become occupied – this is greatly appreciated. Keep in mind, however, that we verify every request for corrections -- so please do not ask us to take your property off the vacant list if it is still vacant.
WHAT DO I DO IF I SEE AN ERROR OR WANT TO REPORT NEW INFORMATION ABOUT A PROPERTY?
Please use the reporting form here for comments and suggested edits. We will periodically verify the information we receive and ensure that necessary edits get reflected. In due course, we will expand the capabilities of the site to allow comments to be added to the map, and create a smartphone app to report issues.
MY HOUSE WAS MISTAKENLY MARKED VACANT!
With over 24,000 properties (and 31,570 tax lots!) in Trenton, we are conscious of some errors. However, do not get upset – get involved! Contact us here.
MY PROPERTY IS VACANT, BUT I INTEND TO RENOVATE IT. CAN IT BE REMOVED FROM THE LIST?
No. If a mistake has been made, we'd be happy to correct it -- but if your property is vacant, it will remain on the list. We are aware of the complexities of people’s situations, and we understand that you're not one of the "bad" owners. But to keep the data consistent, we are unable to selectively hide your property. Contact us if you still think there's something we should know.
WILL ACCESS TO THIS DATABASE ENCOURAGE BREAK-INS AND THEFT?
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM UNABLE TO DOWNLOAD INFORMATION?
Contact us and we will send you a file.