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December 2008 - Neighborhood Stabilization

Credit: Donald Stasenka, courtesy of BRIDGE Housing

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus is the second in a series on neighborhood stabilization -- a set of activities aimed at bringing foreclosed properties back into productive use and minimizing the destabilizing impacts of foreclosures on communities. One of the most important first steps in developing a foreclosure response strategy is to identify the neighborhoods likely to be most impacted by foreclosures. Government entities and their partners can then target prevention or early intervention programs in these areas to mitigate the negative consequences of foreclosure.

This month's podcast highlights one community's efforts to develop a sophisticated data system for gathering and analyzing locally available data. Communities that do not have this capacity may find it useful to view the foreclosure needs data now available via the Foreclosure Response project on, which are intended to help states and communities determine which areas are in greatest need of neighborhood stabilization assistance.

In addition, two new resources are available to help communities with their neighborhood stabilization efforts: (1) a case study from the Cleveland area that provides data on how recoveries from foreclosure sales have declined in recent years; these data may help local groups negotiate discounts on the purchase of foreclosed properties; and (2) a working paper that draws on lessons from vacant and abandoned properties initiatives to provide examples of policies and programs that may be used to help stabilize neighborhoods affected by foreclosures.

Learn more about Foreclosure Prevention and Neighborhood Stabilization

"Out Loud" Podcast's monthly Out Loud podcasts focus on noteworthy housing policy solutions being implemented at the state and local levels. In this month's podcast we hear from Claudia Coulton, Professor and Co-director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. The Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change operates a comprehensive database, North East Ohio Community and Neighborhood Data for Organizing (NEO CANDO), providing public access to neighborhood indicators and property information for the entire region.

In this podcast, Coulton discusses how the data collected through NEO CANDO is helping to shape foreclosure prevention and intervention policies in Cleveland.

Listen To The Podcast

New Resources on Policies to Help Reduce Household Energy Costs

When the price of oil topped $100 per barrel earlier this year, Americans got a painful reminder that the costs associated with where we live go beyond rent or mortgage payments to include the costs of utilities and transportation to get to work and around town. While fuel prices have gone down (for now), most observers believe that the long-term trend is toward higher energy prices. To help communities plan for the future, is proud to introduce a new section on the many housing policies that can be adopted to help reduce household energy costs for working families and others -- from designing affordable, transit-oriented neighborhoods that reduce reliance on personal vehicles to rehabbing old homes to improve energy efficiency.

Learn More About Reducing Household Energy Costs

Major Housing Conference Planned for June 2009

Learn more about foreclosure prevention, neighborhood stabilization, rental housing preservation, and all the solutions you read about in In Focus by attending Solutions for Working Families: 2009 Learning Conference on State and Local Housing Policy. Building on the knowledge base accumulated through, the conference will bring together housing practitioners, policymakers, and community leaders to discuss the full range of policies that can help ensure the availability of housing for working families and others.

Neighborhood Stabilization Plans Available

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), created as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act, provides funding to states and localities to respond to foreclosures in their community. To receive the funds, each eligible entity must submit a written plan on how the funds will be used. The National Housing Conference, in partnership with Foreclosure Response, a joint project of the Center for Housing Policy, KnowledgePlex, LISC, and the Urban Institute, has collected Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) plans and posted all 50 state plans that are available for public comment in its online database of action plans. We would like to add as many local NSP plans as possible. Do you have a local NSP Action Plan to share? Please let us know and we will add it to our database.

Share Your Action Plans


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The National Housing Conference and the Center for Housing Policy are working with industry groups representing state and local officials and many other partners to organize this major conference, which will be held in Chicago on June 28-30, 2009.

Learn More About The Conference

Featured Gallery Entry:
Townhomes on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Photo courtesy of the District of Columbia Housing Authority


November 2008-- In Focus: Neighborhood Stabilization
October 2008-- In Focus: Transit-Oriented Development
September 2008-- In Focus: Inclusionary Zoning
August 2008 -- In Focus: Rental Housing Preservation
July 2008-- In Focus: Shared Equity Homeownership
June 2008 -- In Focus: Green Affordable Housing
May 2008 -- In Focus: Foreclosure Prevention
April 2008 -- In Focus: Employer-Assisted Housing
February 2008
-- was launched in January 2008 as part of Housing Solutions Week. Click here to view materials from the week.