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Tool 1: Reducing Abandonment and Preventing Foreclosure

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:


  • Declining property values;
  • Declining property conditions;
  • Increase in vandalism, squatting and fires;
  • Loss of neighborhood leaders when they are foreclosed or leave as the neighborhood deteriorates; and
  • Erosion of the social connections among neighbors that are the basis for problem solving.


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.

Go to foreclosurehelpandhope.org


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:


  • Potential  acquisition/renovation targets;
  • Blighted properties that threaten to undermine existing neighborhoods assets and housing renovation projects; and
  • Occupied homes at risk of foreclosure and abandonment.


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. 

Learn about the Neighborhood Stabilization Team


Short Sale Acquisition and Lease Back to Former Owner: Boston Community Capital operates the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods (SUN) Initiative that 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. Launched in late 2009, SUN has prevented the eviction of over 200 Massachusetts residents, helping homeowners and tenants facing eviction reduce their monthly housing payments by more than 40 percent.

Go to the Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods Initiative


Acquisition, Rehab and Rent or Sale of Foreclosed Property: Through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), local government, nonprofits and private developers are acquiring and rehabilitating thousands of foreclosed (usually vacant) single- and multi-family homes. Most often, the goal is to sell these properties to low- and middle-income owner-occupants; however, the distressed nature of many of the neighborhoods the properties are located in, as well as the tightening of the credit market has made it challenging to sell homes in some places. In these cases, developers may seek to rent homes with an option to purchase (“lease-purchase”) or simply rent the homes. In total, $7 billion has been allocated to NSP, and there is a substantial amount of literature available on the subject. 

Go to HUD’s NSP Resource Exchange
Go to StableCommunities.org 
Go to foreclosure-response.org 
Go to the National Community Stabilization Trust



Go to Tool 2: Reducing Crime