PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The capital city is planning on banking underused, vacant land to develop affordable housing.

The program will benefit from $8.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding and includes an open call to identify lots for the bank.

“If residents can help connect the dots in the coming months and alert the Providence Neighborhood Land Bank to these locations, the city, through the Providence Redevelopment Agency, can help turn these properties into desperately needed affordable housing,” Councilor Rachel Miller said.

City officials gathered with housing activists and developers Thursday to announce the new Providence Redevelopment Agency Program, which is funded through the Providence Housing Trust and seeks to revitalize city neighborhoods.

“Bold policies and funding are needed to address the housing crisis in Rhode Island and nationwide,” Mayor Jorge Elorza said. “The Providence Neighborhood Land Bank Program is an important step in finding creative solutions to transform neighborhoods and prioritizing land for those who need it most.”

The city will log and screen lots in a new database of vacant, abandoned or dilapidated properties, according to the mayor’s office.

The city hopes the proposal will reduce barriers to redevelopment. Residents can submit land parcel suggestions via email.