Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Will We get Our Cut? or Better Yet, Will We Make it Count?

This Monday past I along with John Miller & Pat Woosley of NA Community Housing had the pleasure of attending a live teleconferenced seminar sponsored by Federal Reserve System entitled Confronting the Neighborhood Impacts of Foreclosure.

The local venue for this all day event was held at the Louisville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Others in attendance from Corydon, Louisville, and elsewhere who deal with housing issues in one way or another in their respective locals.

The panel consisted of Mayors & Housing Department officials from cities around the country, Federal Reserve Board Members, representatives from NeighborWorks America, National Housing Institute, National Community Stabilization Trust, JP Morgan Chase, and Enterprise Community Partners to name a few.

The presentation centered around the small portion ($3.92 Billion) of the $700 Billion that has been set aside to be deal with foreclosure issues at the local level and how best to utilize those limited funds. Information that any city government could find useful in these trying times.

While most of the legal and financial jargon was well above my pay grade I found a much of what was presented to be germane to our own local conversation.

There were numerous examples of how municipalities from other states have successfully dealt with such financial crisis’ of the past three decades. Instances brought on by plant closings which led to job losses and a decline in population followed by deterioration of housing stock in what were once thriving neighborhoods.

Such things as increased code enforcement, city/county owned land banks, greenfields, small neighborhood parks, urban agriculture, mixed use properties, and much more were sited as successful ways to deal with vacant and abandoned property.

The folks who had initiated these programs in their own communities suggested a variety of ways to tweak them to fit in cities of all sizes in all states in order for them to get the biggest bang for the bucks available.

Does it mean that an adjustment in thinking will be required ? Yes, but it also means that we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Templates are available to any who choose to look at them.

Click on the link below and you will find access to Power Point © presentations from previous sessions in this series. This particular meeting should be available there within the next few days.

Other links of interest include;

NeighborWorks America http://www.nw.org/network/home.asp

Enterprise Community Partners http://www.enterprisecommunity.org/

Housing Partnership Network http://www.housingpartnership.net/

Local Initiatives Support Corporation http://www.lisc.org/

Genesee County Land Bank http://www.thelandbank.org/

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