Community Progress Blog

Learning from Baltimore’s Vacants to Value: Part III

Written by on April 18, 2017

One can learn a lot about tackling abandoned properties from Baltimore’s Vacants to Value. However successful it’s been, at getting abandoned properties back into use, though, there are real risks in overselling that achievement. The core element of that program, simply stated, is an effective means of getting developers to restore vacant properties without public…


Learning from Baltimore’s Vacants to Value: Part II

Written by on April 12, 2017

In my first post on this theme, I wrote about the thinking behind Baltimore’s highly successful effort to get private developers and property owners to rehabilitate vacant properties and put them back to use. As I noted, the key element in the strategy is creating a predictable pipeline of vacant properties that developers can get hold…


Learning from Baltimore’s Vacants to Value: Part I

Written by on April 11, 2017

In 2010, the City of Baltimore kicked off an ambitious effort to address its vacant property challenges, an effort it called Vacants to Value (V2V). After five years, the city decided to commission an in-depth evaluation of the program, and after a competitive process, retained the Center for Community Progress, in partnership with the Baltimore…


Remembering Ray Pianka

Written by on January 27, 2017

Raymond L. Pianka, judge of Cleveland’s Housing Court, died suddenly at the age of 65 early Sunday morning, January 22. As the city’s housing court judge for over two decades, Ray became something close to a legend among people engaged in fighting neighborhood decline and abandoned properties, not just in Cleveland but across the United…


The REAL rental housing issue

Written by on March 16, 2016

Originally posted on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog We know a few things about the majority of very low-income renters: They live in private market housing, not tax credit projects or public housing. They receive no housing subsidies. They are paying far more than they can afford for what is too often substandard housing…


Do Urban Neighborhoods Need Homeowners?

Written by on December 9, 2014

Originally posted on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog At a conference I attended last week, one of the speakers, a colleague whose judgment and knowledge I respect, offered his take on the future of urban single family neighborhoods. The lower income families who have the credit and can get together the down payment to…


What’s the matter with Atlantic City?

Written by on October 22, 2014

Originally posted on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog Over the past few months, there’s been a drumbeat of bad news coming out of Atlantic City. Since the beginning of 2014, four casinos have closed, including Revel, which the state of New Jersey granted $261 million in tax breaks to back in 2011 so they…


Hardest Hit Funds demolition policy change on track to become a boon for distressed communities

Written by on July 1, 2014

This article was originally published in the Summer 2014 issue of Breaking Ground, our quarterly newsletter. To receive Breaking Ground in your inbox, please join our email list. For an update on the latest round of Hardest Hit Fund allocations in April, 2016, click here. In February 2010, President Obama unveiled the Hardest Hit Fund, a…


Can Youngstown Make It On Its Own?

Written by on March 26, 2014

Originally posted on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog Youngstown is a small city in the hills of northeast Ohio, once famous for steelmaking; and sadly, if famous for anything today, for economic distress and population loss. From a peak population of about 175, 000, it’s down today to maybe 65,000. In any event, last…


The March of the Millennial Generation to the Cities is Real

Written by on January 23, 2014

Originally posted on the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog This past fall, the Washington Post ran a series called “The March of the Millennials” about how this generation is changing Washington D.C. For those of you who have been out of the loop for the last few years, ‘millennials’ or the ‘millennial generation’ is what people are…