Tool 1: Reducing Abandonment and Preventing Foreclosure
The destabilizing effects of multiple foreclosures and of vacant properties in neighborhoods have been extensively documented since the foreclosure crisis:
In this context, the purpose of strategies to reduce abandonment and prevent foreclosure is to keep properties occupied and maintained, keep “eyes on the street” and keep neighborhood social connections and leadership as intact as possible.
A number of strategies are being tried throughout the nation to avert more foreclosures and to reduce abandonment.
Foreclosure Intervention Counseling: Most communities have access to local nonprofits that provide foreclosure intervention counseling for free, and all communities can access this kind of assistance by phone through national counseling agencies.
1-888-995-HOPE is a national hotline that assesses cases by phone and will refer households to local agencies if they prefer and one is available, or provide full services by phone and email. Counselors will assist at-risk homeowners with accessing all available resources, from short-sale to loan modification, forbearance, and any state or federal programs.
One significant challenge in connecting households at risk of foreclosure to these services is their own reluctance to act until the problem is severe. There are many resources available to assist with outreach at foreclosurehelpandhope.org, a joint project of the Ad Council, NeighborWorks America and the Homeownership Preservation Foundation.
Foreclosure Risk Monitoring and Targeted Outreach: In Cleveland, Ohio, a partnership of Neighborhood Progress, Inc. (NPI), Case Western Reserve University (CRWU) , Cleveland State University, 14 local CDCs, and Empowering and Strengthening Ohio’s People (ESOP), a local foreclosure prevention agency meets monthly to review data on target neighborhoods and plan targeted interventions . Through a unique web-based data system, the team is able to identify, map and research a number of relevant risk factors and opportunities, including:
The data allows the team to prioritize and categorize destabilizing properties, and to link properties with the appropriate stabilization intervention, such as acquisition, tax foreclosure, nuisance abatement, receivership, demolition, code enforcement and foreclosure prevention.