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!
District of Columbia
NE DC is turning vacant parking lots into playing fields, thanks to these parents “Some families in Northeast DC couldn’t find a field nearby, so they found some vacant parking lots nearby and drew up plans for a place for kids to play. After years of work, those parking lots are getting turned into something even grander than neighborhood advocates initially dreamt.” Bob Coomber | Greater Greater Washington | June 28, 2018
Eviction tactics squeeze renters: AJC analysis shows landlords increasingly use filings to collect late rent “”The AJC found more than 70,000 cases where renters got three or more eviction notices at the same property. And such serial filings are becoming more common in recent years, rising 17 percent from 2010 to 2016, even as overall eviction filings fell with the improving economy.” Chris Joyner, Jeff Ernsthausen, and Willoughby Mariano | Atlanta Journal-Constitution | June 22, 2018
Chicago targets ‘zombie housing’ for renewal, block by block “‘Overall, (the city’s) strategy is one that’s important,’ [Geoff] Smith says. ‘It targets small areas and helps the neighborhoods recover. When there are limited resources, you need to concentrate it and then target the areas to have some level of success.'” Anna Marie Kukec | U.S. News | July 9, 2018
Housing reports: Michigan sees the biggest plunge in African-American home ownership“Urban Institute research associate Mark Treskon says the researchers identified two major issues that stand in the way of reversing the trend, and returning to a ‘virtuous cycle of building wealth through home ownership’ for African-Americans: the rise of land contracts, or rent-to-own housing arrangements; and property tax foreclosure.” Sarah Cwiek | Michigan Radio | July 10, 2018
Blighted Junction Park to become outdoor performance space“‘It’s essentially a blighted piece of property that the residents would like to be a cultural park space,’ [Ryan Bunch] said. ‘We met with a variety of youth and elders in the community, and they identified a few things they wanted to see: a reading area, walking path, some benches, and a performing space.'” Sarah Elms | The Blade | July 5, 2018
New Dallas initiative targets neighborhoods with repeat code complaints“The initiative will include inspections and enforcement on issues including vacant houses, high weeds on lots, cars with flat tires, trash, illegal dumping, loitering, and other Code violations.”Demond Fernandez | WFAA 8 | June 25, 2018
And, Lastly, a Blight Bright Spot!
Baltimore is mired in violent crime. Could part of the solution be found in reclaimed wood?“Around the country, other cities — including Chicago; Cleveland; Dayton, Ohio — have programs that pay former offenders or even jail inmates to demolish homes. But the Baltimore program operated by Humanim is unique for its focus on deconstruction and refurbishing reclaimed wood.”Aamer Madhani | USA Today | June 10, 2018