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!
How the creative placemaking tide lifts all community boats “‘It’s the importance of creating places that benefit everyone — places that connect existing residents, instead of dividing, alienating, or displacing them, and places that enhance the existing character of a neighborhood, instead of erasing it.'” James A. Anderson | Next City | June 10, 2019
The rent is too high—so help is on the way in many cities, states “This is the first time in recent years that so many states, including Oregon, California, and Illinois, have considered or taken action at once. Some proposals would overturn existing bans on rent control. Others would establish rent control, expand existing laws, or introduce other types of protections.” Pamela Ferdinand | realtor.com | June 5, 2019
Building healthy housing through Health Action Plans “‘It embeds public health expertise in the design and development process, and ensures there’s a research phase, a community engagement phase, a protocol for measurement, and a follow-up in terms of impacts,’ says [Krista] Egger of the Health Action Plan.”Amanda Abrams | Shelterforce | May 29, 2019
Blight is eating American cities. Here’s how Mobile, Alabama, stopped it“Last year, prompted in large part by the Mobile innovation team’s work, the Alabama state house passed HB430, which allows cities to use municipal liens, rather than tax delinquency, to claim ownership of a property. Rather than triggering a bunch of fines and notices, the city can now take active measures to bring a property in front of a judge, who can then hand over a property with a clear title to the city.” Hana Schank | Fast Company | June 10, 2019
Denver invests in community land trust that grew out of anti-displacement movement“‘This was really our pilot to put some initial capital into these models and look at what kind of outcomes we’re able to get from each of these models,’ [Britta] Fisher says. ‘We’re really trying to pull every lever that we can to advance affordability throughout Denver, and community land trusts and long-term affordability are very important to that conversation.'” Jared Brey | Next City | June 6, 2019
Gov. Polis signs bill requiring landlords provide safe, clean housing“Under the “Safe and Healthy Homes Act,” if landlords fail to follow the standards, tenants can wait to pay their rent until the issues are addressed without fear of retaliation.” Shaul Turner | Fox 31 Denver | May 20, 2019
Renters in Chicago’s black neighborhoods 4 times as likely to face eviction as those in white areas “In their report, the Lawyers’ Committee pointed out that in the cases they examined, 79% of landlords were able to hire attorneys to represent themselves in court, while only 11% of tenants had lawyers. Tenant advocates say that imbalance creates an uneven playing field for tenants who already are on the brink of homelessness.” Javonte Anderson | Chicago Tribune | May 16, 2019
Missouri lawmakers want to let neighbors clean up outside the abandoned house next door “Democratic Sen. Kiki Curls of Kansas City has been pushing what she calls the “good neighbor bill” for years. It allows neighbors or neighborhood associations to clean up trash and debris, mow the lawns and seal up doors and windows of abandoned properties.” Samuel King | KBIA | June 12, 2019
Clark County Land Bank shifts focus to property rehab “‘We are continuing to do demolition but the market is changing,” said Ethan Harris, community engagement manager for the Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation. “The need to demolish buildings is slowing, while the need to rehab is increasing.'” Riley Newton | Springfield News-Sun | June 07, 2019
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
Southwest Side nonprofit to rehab over 100 housing units thanks to state grant“‘That power shows up in the homes we’ve reclaimed together, in the lives we’ve transformed, in the families we’ve reconciled, in the blocks we’ve stabilized. That power shows up best when we show up for one another,’ [Alia Bilal] said.” Carlos Ballesteros | Chicago Sun Times | June 6, 2019