Community Progress Blog

Headlines: The latest on vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties – August 10, 2018

Written by on August 10, 2018

This is our twice-monthly round-up of news stories covering challenges related to vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties — and how communities are transforming these properties into assets. (The headlines are for informational purposes only; inclusion does not indicate endorsement.) If you’d like to get this round-up in your inbox, join our email list!

Home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Credit: Ameetav Nangrani, flickr, 2015)

National

Sending your kids to college increases the chances you’ll lose your house
“If college attendance rose in a certain area — a year later, the rate of foreclosures did too. The clear implication, [Jacob] Faber said, was “that the strain of paying for college increased foreclosure risk.” Nationwide, they found a one-percent increase in college attendance could be expected to lead to between 11,200 and 27,400 additional foreclosures.”
Andrew Van Dam | The Washington Post | August 6, 2018

Vacancy: America’s other housing crisis  
“While housing vacancy has long been a problem in America, especially in economically distressed places, vacancies surged in the wake of the economic crisis of 2008. The number of unoccupied homes jumped by 26 percent—from 9.5 to 12 million between 2005 and 2010.”  
Richard Florida | CityLab | July 27, 2018

Georgia

An Atlanta home’s 60-year journey to vacancy and disrepair
“[I]t reveals a problem still undermining some Atlanta neighborhoods. While the center of the city has seen the demand for housing grow, communities to the west and south, like Almond Park, continue to deal with a glut of vacant properties.” 
Stephannie Stokes | WABE | August 2, 2018

Illinois

Englewood residents organize to take back their block
“Englewood property values have remained relatively stagnant compared to the rest of the city since the recession, and incomes are still low—with a median of $19,900, which is almost $30,000 less than that of the city as a whole. But within the neighborhood, there’s a growing sense, propelled by developments like Englewood Square and a coming microbrewery, that things are changing. And in response, residents and organizations are trying to ensure Englewood residents will benefit from those changes.”   
Christian Belanger | Curbed Chicago | July 23, 2018

Michigan

How a new park fits Detroit’s plan to bring its neighborhoods back 
“The idea behind the project, according to Alexa Bush, Detroit’s east region design director, was to transform the neighborhood without building new housing on the vacant lots—there’s no market for it, she says—in a cost-effective, low maintenance manner.”   
Karim Doumar | CityLab | August 7, 2018

New York

Reactivating abandoned buildings through local ownership in smaller cities 
“‘There hadn’t been much development in the neighborhood we were targeting in many, many years,’ says Madeline Fletcher, executive director of the Newburgh Community Land Bank. ‘So we wanted to do a project that showed how these things could really get done.'”  
Jared Brey | Next City | August 9, 2018

Mayor announces initiative to turn vacant homes into affordable housing 
“[R]ochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced the Neighbors for Neighbors program. Through the Rochester Land Bank Corporation, the program allows residents to buy a vacant home, receive a subsidy to fix it up, then rent it at an affordable rate.”  
WHEC | WHEC 10 | August 2, 2018

North Carolina

When black lawmakers get elected, zoning decisions change 
“Given the extent of other racially-motivated practices used by public and private sector actors over the course of U.S. history (racial steering, redlining, blockbusting, etc.) it can hardly be assumed that the Durham experience is an isolated case. This study should serve as a call for further empirical research into the potential role of race in historical and contemporary zoning practices.”
Andrew H. Whittemore | CityLab | July 24, 2018

Ohio

City explores tool for combating blight, abandonment 
“Under that legal remedy, the city — or a neighbor or nonprofit — could file a complaint against a landowner in court and ask the judge to declare the building a public nuisance. The owner would have an opportunity to fix any code violations or other issues with the building before the judge passed judgment on it.”
Sarah Volpenhein | Marion Star | July 28, 2018

And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!

(Credit: Jerrica Valtierra)

Rockford tackles blight by painting up boarded houses
“The City and non-profit organizations like YouthBuild have fixed up a blighted home in the 700 block of Kilburn Avenue with recycled paint adhering material that is intended to help make the property more appealing to the eye. All the properties that are being redecorated are those which the City has yet to get the funds for their demolition.”
Jerrica Valtierra | mystateline.com | July 18, 2018

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