Building a Strategic, Data-Driven Code Enforcement Program for Gary, Indiana

A Community Progress Technical Assistance Report

Author(s): Center for Community Progress

In January 2015, the City of Gary engaged Community Progress (through our technical assistance scholarship program) to conduct a diagnostic review and assessment of the City’s current data and information management systems and practices related to tackling widespread vacancy and abandonment. This report details some powerful and persuasive findings, generating strong consensus among City officials that:

* The current code enforcement program needs to be revamped, including reforming operations, reorganizing departmental structures, and rethinking funding strategies.
* The CIty must shift from an exclusive reliance on criminal prosecution, to more frequent use of the administrative process via the Unsafe Building Law, targeting different interventions and strategies across different neighborhood markets and different types of problem properties.
* Simple, cost-effective reforms to operations and data management practices can yield better outcomes and ensure smarter neighborhood investments.
* Regular communication and deep collaboration across City department should be stitched into the daily operations of governance, if not institutionalized through long-term project teams or issue specific task forces.

Madison Gharghoury, Development Associate and Special Assistant to the President/CEO

Published: August 2015


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