Building Stronger Neighborhoods
Dealing with Problem Property Owners
Reusing Vacant Properties
BUILDING STRONGER NEIGHBORHOODS
Strategy 1: Increasing the Desirability of the Neighborhood’s Housing Stock
Home Equity Insurance Program in Syracuse, New York: The program allows homeowners to buy insurance that ensures they can get the value of their home back on resale, even if market value of properties in their area declines.
Florida Housing Trust: A special tax-funded pool that provides a funding source for down payment or purchase-rehab assistance. The income limits of the fund are decided by the authorizing legislation.
Clark University Program (Worcester, Massachusetts): Clark offers free tuition to eligible residents in its Main South Neighborhood and also incentivizes home purchases and renovations by faculty and staff in the neighborhood. http://www.clarku.edu/community/upp/accomplishments.cfm
The Kalamazoo Promise (Kalamazoo, Michigan): It provides resident graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools with up to 100% of their tuition and fees for 4 years at Michigan’s public universities and colleges. Its purpose is to attract more residents of all incomes to live in the city and to attend public schools. www.kalamazoopromise.com
New Orleans Redevelopment Authority’s Growing Home Program: Sells vacant lots to nearby homeowners and offers a discount of up to $10,000 off the cost of the lot for landscaping improvements that the buyer makes. http://www.growinghomenola.org/
The Great Geneva Neighborhood Challenge (pdf): Grant program to encourage beautification and maintenance work by residents of neighborhood blocks in the city of Geneva, New York. Click here.
Community Branding and Image-Building Guide by Marcia Nedland (pdf): Provides information on neighborhood marketing from NeighborWorks America. Click here.
Home Marketing and Sales Guide: This website provides information on neighborhood marketing from NeighborWorks America. http://dev.go-nw12.clientapp.com/
Ten Tips for Marketing Neighborhoods as Places of Choice: Fall Creek Consultants offer a handy, 10-tip guide to residents who wish to market their neighborhoods effectively. http://fallcreekconsultants.com/documents/Top%20Ten%20Neighborhood%20Marketing%20Principles.pdf
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Strategy 2: Increasing Neighborhood Stability
Foreclosure Intervention Counseling: foreclosurehelpandhope.org is a joint project of the Ad Council, NeighborWorks America and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation. It provides many resources to assist with foreclosure outreach. www.foreclosurehelpandhope.org
Neighborhood Stabilization Team (Cleveland, Ohio): Through a web-based data system, the team is able to identify, map and research a number of relevant foreclosure risk factors and intervention opportunities. http://www.communityprogress.net/cleveland--oh---building-a-neighborhood-stabilization-team-effort--pages-85.php
Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods Initiative: Prevents the displacement of families and the neighborhood destabilizing effects of vacancy and abandonment by acquiring foreclosed properties before evictions occur and reselling them to their existing occupants with mortgages they can afford. http://www.sunhomehelp.org/
HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program Resource Exchange: A portal of information and resources for NSP grantees to explore and use in conjunction with their neighborhood stabilization/revitalization efforts. https://hudnsphelp.info/
StableCommunities.org: A website managed by NeighborWorks America, which is dedicated to stabilizing and revitalizing neighborhoods. It includes many resources and case studies, neighborhood planning information and a searchable database of resources and publications. www.stablecommunities.org
National Community Stabilization Trust: A national nonprofit organization that works with financial institutions and local housing providers across the U.S. to help stabilize neighborhoods with high levels of foreclosure and abandonment. http://www.stabilizationtrust.com/
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED): The Design Centre provides a wealth of information on basic crime prevention techniques through the design of public space. http://www.designcentreforcpted.org/Pages/BasicInfo.html
The Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence (Providence, Rhode Island): An organization based in Providence that seeks to further the ideals of nonviolence. http://www.nonviolenceinstitute.org/
Youthbuild: Provides workforce development and housing to serve at risk youth. http://youthbuild.org
Manchester-Bidwell Corporation: Engages at risk youth in a variety of activities, including teaching them work with ceramics and how to grow orchids in a commercial greenhouse operation. A related reading resource is the book by the Corporation’s founder, Bill Strickland (2007), Make the Impossible Possible, from Doubleday. http://www.manchesterbidwell.org/
CeaseFire Chicago: Focuses on street-level outreach and conflict mediation to change community norms and reduce violence. A related reading resource is a book by one of the CeaseFire approach founders, David M. Kennedy (2011), Don’t Shoot: One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America. http://ceasefirechicago.org/
USA on Watch Resource Center: Offers a nationwide list of block watches, provides tools for setting up block watch programs and has a full Resource Center. http://www.usaonwatch.org/default.aspx
Neighborhood Watch Awards: The program supports model block programs, neighborhood clean-ups and social events and other programs. http://www.usaonwatch.org/resource/publication.aspx?PublicationId=38
Solutions for America: The Neighborhood Crime Prevention and Safety Section summarizes the latest research on the subject and provides links to a number of other helpful websites covering actions residents can take in their own neighborhoods. http://www.solutionsforamerica.org/index.html
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS): As part of the US Department of Justice, COPS provides information about what community policing is, and information about the COPS funding program. http://cops.usdoj.gov/
National Citizens Police Academy Association: Citizens Police Academies are held throughout the U.S. to educate citizens on the basics of the law enforcement profession and to help build a partnership with the police. http://www.nationalcpaa.org/
International Association of Chiefs of Police Community (IACP) Policing Committee: This website provides a categorized list of entries on best practices of agencies involved in community policing efforts. It offers innovative ideas on building partnerships to make communities safer. http://iacpcommunitypolicing.org/
Community Safety Initiative: A part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) which provides a number of available resources, including an interactive crime prevention tool called Developer+Police=Results. http://www.lisc.org/section/ourwork/national/safety
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Strategy 4: Preserving and Expanding the Neighborhood’s Affordable Housing Stock
Table- Goals and Strategies to Preserve and Expand Affordable Housing: This table offers several strategies for preserving and expanding affordable housing based on four specific goals. Click here.
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Strategy 5: Preventing Involuntary Displacement of the Neighborhood’s Lower-Income Residents
Table-Strategies and Activities to Prevent Involuntary Displacement of Lower-Income Residents: This table provides a list of numerous ways to further strategies for preventing displacement in three categories: Homeowners, Tenants in private-market housing, Tenants in subsidized or affordability-controlled housing. Click here.
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Other Related Resources:
The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership: Provides a wide range of neighborhood indicators of market change, including both papers discussing issues involved in developing indicators and links to city-based indicator projects (two listed below). www2.urban.org/nnip
Boston Indicators Project: www.bostonindicators.org
Baltimore Neighborhoods Indicators Alliance: www.bnia.org
The Success Measures Project: Success Measures assists local organizations and governments to plan for their communities using numerous types of indicators and data collection tools. www.successmeasures.org
Building homeownership: Fall Creek Consultants provides a variety of resources about market-based development, in particular strategies to build homeownership. http://www.fallcreekconsultants.com/resources.php
Neighborhood Analysis: Includes a number of valuable materials on market-based development and neighborhood analysis, including the Dynamic Neighborhood Taxonomy. www.rw-ventures.com
Neighborhood taxonomy: Developed by Charles Buki, part of the Healthy Neighborhoods Group, and is available at http://www.czb.org/taxonomy_of_neighborhoods.html
Equitable Development Toolkit: PolicyLink, a national advocacy and research organization based in Oakland, California has prepared a useful toolkit http://www.policylink.org/EDTK/default.html
Healthy Neighborhoods (Baltimore, Maryland): One of the strongest initiatives around the United States focusing on market-oriented neighborhood change. www.healthyneighborhoods.org
Strategic Investment Initiative (Cleveland, Ohio): Initiated by Neighborhood Progress, Inc., the SII seeks to identify communities best positioned to benefit from the organization’s funding and other resources. http://www.neighborhoodprogress.org/cnppsii.php
The Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement: The Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago has done many valuable analyses of neighborhood change, which can be found at http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/voorheesctr/publications.html
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PROBLEM PROPERTY OWNERS
Strategy 1: Strategic Code Enforcement
Vacants to Value case study (Baltimore, Maryland): This program uses a targeted strategy for dealing with vacant properties in Baltimore. Priority areas and categories are determined with resources then concentrated in those priority areas. Click here to read the case study or visit the website.
Cleveland Code Enforcement Partnership: To maximize Building and Housing’s ability to provide effective code enforcement for the whole city, the City of Cleveland formed a partnership with area community development corporations to systematically inspect vacant properties and citizen complaints.
Code Ranger programs (pdf): San Antonio and Fort Worth, Texas developed programs to train citizens to assist code enforcement departments by reporting illegal dumping, code violation, public education and property maintenance. For a summary of the two programs, click here.
New Jersey Creditor Responsibility Law: This law holds the creditor, or entity initiating foreclosure of a rental property responsible for maintaining the property, in the case of abandonment by the owner. This protects the remaining tenants of the property. More information can be found at http://www.hcdnnj.org/creditor-responsibility
New Jersey Creditor Responsibility Law: A full PDF text of N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51, the Creditor Responsibility Law, can be found here.
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Strategy 2: Working with Rental Landlords and Property Investors
Rental Registration Program (Raleigh, North Carolina): This pdf provides a summary of Raleigh's Rental Dwelling Registration Ordinance along with additional resources on the program. Click here.
Overview of the Crime Free Rental Housing Program (Int’l Crime Free Association): This program allows homeowners and property managers to become trained by local law enforcement in crime prevention on their properties. This website provides an overview of the program and its training phases. http://www.crime-free-association.org/rental_housing.htm
Landlord Training Program: Keeping Illegal Activity Out of Rental Property (2006): This manual by John H. Campbell of Campbell DeLong Resources provides numerous strategies for landlords and property managers to work with the community to prevent criminal activity on their properties. Click here.
International Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Association: CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decision that precede criminal acts by affecting the built, social and administrative environment. Additional resources on this topic can be found at the International CPTED Association website. http://www.cpted.net
Defensible space principles:
- Defensible Space by Oscar Newman- This article defines the defensible space concept and discusses its application in the Five Oaks community of Dayton, Ohio. http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/93/defense.html
- Creating Defensible Space by Oscar Newman- This book, published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, discusses the concept and creation of defensible space in greater detail and offers case studies in Dayton, Ohio; Yonkers, New York; and New York City, New York. http://www.huduser.org/publications/pdf/def.pdf
SafeGrowth: Creating Safety and Sustainability through Community Building and Urban Design: This PDF, written by Mona Mangat and Greg Saville discusses the principles of the SafeGrowth model and its holistic approach to neighborhood-based public safety. Click here.
Good Landlord Program: The Utah Housing Coalition created the Good Landlord Program to encourage landlords to maintain and manage their properties responsibly in exchange for a reduction in rental license fees. The “What is the Good Landlord Program?” factsheet can be found here.
Meeting the Challenge of Distressed Property Investors in America by Alan Mallach: This report identifies strategies for local governments and community development corporations (CDCs) to work effectively with property investors to ensure responsible management and maintenance of properties. Click here.
Greater Manchester Landlord Accreditation Scheme (LAS): The LAS is a comprehensive landlord incentive program to encourage responsible maintenance and management of their rental property. This PDF guides landlords through the program, identifying the incentives offered for their participation in the program. http://www.oldham.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/126/gm_landlord_accreditation_scheme-code_of_standards
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Strategy 3- Dealing with Vacant Property Owners
Directory of Vacant Property Registration Ordinances (VPRO): This expansive directory provides VPRO information by municipality for each state. http://www.safeguardproperties.com/Resources/Vacant_Property_Registration/Default.aspx?filter=vpr
Wilmington VPRO Graduated Fee Schedule: The City of Wilmington, Delaware provides a list of fees and information on registering vacant properties on their website. http://www.wilmingtonde.gov/residents/registervacantproperties
Refreshing the Heart of the City: Vacant Building Receivership as a Tool for Neighborhood Revitalization and Community Empowerment: This report by Jim Kelley analyzes the impact and success of Baltimore City’s vacant property receivership efforts. http://www.communityprogress.net/refreshing-the-heart-of-the-city-resources-9.php
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REUSING VACANT PROPERTIES
Re-Imagining Cleveland Pilot Projects: The program provides grants to neighborhood groups, churches and other community-based organizations to carry out vacant land reclamation projects. This website provides an overview of the individual projects around the city and includes an extensive resource page on various land reuse strategies. www.reimaginingcleveland.org
Strategy 1: Understanding Sites
Table- Site Analysis Elements Overview: This table provides an overview of the elements and key questions to consider when performing a site analysis. Click here.
Table- Physical Features Checklist: This checklist table offers some key considerations for the various physical elements encountered on a site. These elements include hydrology, plant growth, environmental contamination, among others. Click here.
Table- Site Context Checklist: This table offers some key considerations for the various physical elements surrounding the site. These elements include transit service, adjacent land uses and design characteristics and utility service, among others. Click here.
Design Guide for Buffalo, New York’s Lower West Side: This report provides key design strategies for revitalizing the Lower West Side of Buffalo. Strategies were developed in a way to remain consistent with the existing housing stock. Click here.
Table- Potential Costs Associated with Site Reuse: This table provides the potential costs for various site reuse activities like clearing title, gaining title and preparing the site for reuse. Click here.
Strategy 3: Choosing Reuse Alternatives
Nielson PRIZM Market Segmentation System: PRIZM provides data on how consumer markets segment in different ways such as age, income and lifestyle. Its purpose is to figure out whom to target for a particular housing product. http://www.claritas.com/MyBestSegments/tutorials/Nielsen_PRIZM/engage.html
Articles on target markets:
- Report by the University of Wisconsin extension on market analysis for downtowns and business districts. PDF here.
- Report by the University of Wisconsin extension on market analysis for downtown housing. PDF here.
- Article by Robert Lang, James Hughes and Karen Danielsen on marketing central city housing. PDF here.
- Article by Laurie Volk and Todd Zimmerman about understanding urban residential markets. PDF here.
Assessing Changes in Neighborhoods Hosting the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Projects: A study by University of Michigan scholar Lan Deng on the effects of Low Income Tax Credit developments on neighborhoods of different socio-economic character. PDF here.
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Other Related Resources
Banking on Green: A look at how green infrastructure can save municipalities money and provide economic benefits community-wide: Download this report to explore a collection of cost-effective solutions to reduce energy and infrastructure costs, and control stormwater runoff. Access report here
Demolition Toolkit: Download and view property acquisition and NSP guidelines, sample RFP forms, and everything else municipalities and CDCs need for an efficient blighted property demolition program. https://hudnsphelp.info/index.cfm?do=viewToolkitsHome&programtypeid=5
Neighborhood Stabilization Land Bank Toolkit: This toolkit provides guidelines and samples of policies and models for partnerships local governments can use to implement land banking authorities within its jurisdiction. https://hudnsphelp.info/index.cfm?do=viewToolkitsHome&programtypeid=7
State Policy Toolkit: This toolkit was developed for states who want to implement land bank enabling legislation. It describes features of strong state policies for land banking, gives advice on political strategy and coalition building, research ideas, and lays out talking points for potential land bank myths and misconceptions. http://www.communityprogress.net/state-policy-toolkit--state-land-bank-enabling-legislation-resources-96.php
Reimagining Cleveland, Ideas to Action Resource Book: Provides a great how-to guide for planning a community land reuse project. It includes detailed information on various reuse strategies including community gardens, orchards, rain gardens, and side yard expansions, among others. Click here.
Reclaiming Vacant Lots: A Philadelphia Green Guide: The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) provides a how-to guide for community-based groups in Philadelphia to plan and implement their own green reuse projects. It describes the process from choosing a site, to choosing a reuse strategy and preparing the site for the new use. http://www.pennsylvaniahorticulturalsociety.org/garden/vacantmanual.html
Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook (EPA): The handbook and its attached worksheet provide a how-to guide for non-profit and for-profit groups in establishing an urban farm business plan. Click here.
SolarGardens.org: This website from the Solar Gardens Institute provides links to solar park projects across the U.S. The Institute promotes community-based solar energy development. http://www.solargardens.org/
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