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NOTE: This is an archived page - click here to view the current edition of In Focus In Focus
November 2008 - Neighborhood Stabilization

Photo Credit: Courtesy of PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

In the Toolbox

This issue of In Focus addresses neighborhood stabilization, a set of activities aimed at helping communities cope with large numbers of foreclosures by bringing foreclosed properties back into productive use and working to minimize the destabilizing impacts of foreclosures. One approach to restoring foreclosed properties to productive use is to create a land bank, a governmental or quasi-governmental entity that assembles, manages, and disposes of properties in accordance with local land use priorities. While created initially to help communities manage vacant and abandoned properties, land banks can be adapted to help communities acquire, manage and dispose of foreclosed properties.

As communities develop their neighborhood stabilization plans, they may wish to tap the learning accumulated through many years of efforts to deal with vacant and abandoned property. Click here to learn more about Land Banks and other vacant property strategies.

Learn More About Land Banks and Neighborhood Stabilization

"Out Loud" Podcast's monthly Out Loud podcast series focuses on noteworthy housing policy solutions being implemented at the state and local levels. In this month's podcast, we hear from Danilo Pelletiere, Research Director of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a non-profit dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis.

As Pelletiere reminds us, many of the properties facing foreclosure -- including both single-family homes and multifamily buildings -- are occupied by renters, leaving these families at risk of eviction, even if they are paying their rent on a timely and regular basis. In this interview, he summarizes research his organization has conducted on this topic as well as actions being taken at the state and local levels to assist renters that are at risk of being displaced.

Listen To The Podcast

Solutions in Action

To help preserve neighborhoods in the wake of widespread foreclosures, the City of Chula Vista, California, has increased mortgage lenders’ responsibilities to secure and maintain properties that have been abandoned due to a pending foreclosure. Under Chula Vista’s Abandoned Residential Property Program, mortgage lenders must inspect homes that are in default to determine whether or not they are occupied. If a property is found to be vacant, the mortgage lender is required to register the property with the city and obtain a local company to inspect the property on a weekly basis and correct any code violations that are found. The local company’s name and a 24-hour contact number must also be posted on the property. By giving mortgage lenders clear responsibilities during the foreclosure process and by providing a local entity for neighbors to contact, Chula Vista is working toward stopping foreclosure-related blight before it can destabilize the surrounding area.

Learn More About This Solution

What's Your Story?

Nearly $4 billion in funding for acquiring and rehabilitating foreclosed properties will soon be distributed through the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Action plans are due to HUD by December 1, 2008, so time is of the essence. To help states and communities determine which areas are in greatest need of stabilization assistance, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), has released two datasets that show the relative needs for neighborhood stabilization funding: (1) among CDBG entitlement jurisdictions within each state, and (2) at the zip code level. These data can be accessed through Foreclosure Response – a joint project of the Center for Housing Policy, KnowledgePlex, LISC, and the Urban Institute.

In partnership with the National Housing Conference, the Foreclosure Response team is collecting and providing links to plans that are posted for public comment as they become available. Do you have an NSP Action Plan to share? Please let us know and we will add it to our online database of action plans.

Share Your Action Plans


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Major Housing Conference Planned for June 2009

Learn more about foreclosure prevention, neighborhood stabilization 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. 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:

Providence Walk, Fairfield, CA

Photo courtesy of the Olson Company


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 -- This issue of In Focus kicked off a series of Six Housing Policies for a World of High Energy Costs
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.