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 to bring back struggling cities“These metropolitan areas often have several strikes against them, including population loss, weak job markets, low value economies, a low share of adults with college degrees, and a central municipality that is financially distressed. They also have very few if any high value assets to rebuild their economies around. They usually aren’t state capitals and lack elite universities, Fortune 500 corporate headquarters, a major airport (or any airport), and name recognition.” Aaron Renn | CityLab | March 28, 2019
The eviction crisis is starting to look a lot like the subprime mortgage crisis “‘The effective premium that tenants pay through late fees is a systematic penalty that the lightly regulated rental market inflicts on those who are economically fragile, not dissimilar from the interest rate penalties that subprime lenders inflict on those with previous credit challenges.'” Andrea Riquier | MarketWatch | March 30, 2019
Housing affordability crisis spreads to rural America “One reason for the slow-moving crisis in rural rental housing is that federal incentives to include affordable units have all but disappeared, and those remaining are quietly expiring, allowing landlords to freely charge more when demand rises[.]” Tim Henderson | Stateline | March 25, 2019
Building for an uncertain future: Miami residents adapt to the changing climate “Miami is projected to face anywhere from 1 to 3 feet of sea level rise by 2060, and as sea levels rise, higher ground inland has started to look more and more desirable. Much of that higher ground is in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, like Liberty City and Little Haiti. As Bryant puts it, it has turned land in these communities into ‘caviar.'” Ian Stewart and Lulu Garcia-Navarro | NPR | March 31, 2019
Grant would help homeowners cited by code enforcement pay for repairs “‘For years, residents of foreclosed homes were pitted against anyone who wanted to buy a home in the auction. It was Detroit versus Everybody. Our program gives residents the first option to buy their home, giving justice to low-income homeowners and creating ownership opportunities out of the trauma of foreclosure,’ said Michele Oberholtzer of the United Community Housing Coalition.” Marisa Oberle | abc57 | April 5, 2019
Kalamazoo city and county leaders help struggling homeowners ahead of tax deadline “[Mary] Balkema said a lack of awareness of options for help is the reason many fall into similar situations as Bayer. In addition, she said there was a shortage of around 3,000 affordable housing units available in the county.” Sam Knef | WMMT 3 | March 30, 2019
Land Bank flips first home – new program allows remodeling a home instead of demolition“The Shalersville home, Cromes said, was brought to the Land Bank’s attention by the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and Shalersville Trustees, who wanted to see the property restored to benefit the neighborhood. The Land Bank bought the property through a tax foreclosure. After a complete renovation, the home was listed with a local real estate agent and was sold to a single-family homeowner within a few days. ” Diane Smith | Record-Courier | March 31, 2019
The Invisibles: Making a Home in the Midst of Blight“Oklahoma City counts 945 abandoned properties, which can lead to lower property values and a hollowing out of once-vibrant neighborhoods, including the near-northeast, predominantly African-American area that is rich with history.” Whitney Bryen | Oklahoma Watch | April 1, 2019
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
More than 30 tons of trash collected during Dayton city cleanup“‘This city is everybody’s city and it proves it today. We want to make it better. It’s on everybody’s shoulders,’ [Matt] Joseph said.” Judith Retana | WDTN 2 | April 6, 2019