The Slavic Village Neighborhood Reinvestment Model
Organizations from both the private and non-profit sectors have teamed up to champion an ambitious problem property remediation program that aims to rehabilitate all vacant or poorly maintained properties within the Slavic Village – a neighborhood just outside Cleveland. The effort seeks to capitalize on already existing neighborhood advantages, target properties with fewer encumbrances, and sell rehabilitations at a profit, allowing the effort to be self-sustaining.
The overarching objective is to revitalize the community - one block at a time - by making strategic rehabilitations on each street until a tipping point is reached, beyond which market forces and demand are restored enough to maintain strength with only a minimal number of additional interventions.
Organizers believe they have produced a winning formula by focusing on a neighborhood that is only moderately rather than severely distressed - such areas require less rehabilitation and have amenities that make the community more sellable - and by keeping costs as low as possible without sacrificing quality.
They are reducing costs by:
- Prioritizing Real Estate Owned (REO) and other housing already within the possession of financial institutions, partner organizations, and land banks,
- Avoiding the red tape that comes with public funding by only leveraging private dollars,
- Choosing homes for rehabilitation that have the most salvageable foundations, determined through an initial screening process,
- Building with affordable materials,
- Receiving bulk purchase rates whenever possible, and
- Setting a target profit margin of $10,000 to 20,000 per renovated house.
Through a comprehensive neighborhood property analysis and housing inspection process, they determined that 302 vacant properties exist within the target area, of which 200 will be rehabilitated and the remaining demolished. Whenever possible, they are also turning properties vacated by demolition into side yard lots. The program has made some initial progress, and partner organizations are predicting the project will pick-up speed over the coming years.
An early stage examination of the program by the Greater Ohio Policy Center has uncovered some positive impacts thus far, including profits made on sales of renovated homes, enthusiasm among residents, and additional neighborhood investments by third parties that researchers think may have resulted from the initial funding commitments made to Slavic Village by the partners who developed the model, as well as additional financing they leveraged for the initiative. Program performance will continue to be measured throughout the life of the project.
These findings and other information, including a detailed break-down of the program mission and approach, neighborhood demographics, and advice to communities considering replicating the program, are chronicled in Documenting the Slavic Village Recovery Project: An Early Review of a Model for Neighborhood Revitalization in Cleveland, Ohio, published by the Greater Ohio Policy Center.
What do you think of this project? Does it seem like a promising model for revitalization that would be worthy of replication?
To read the Greater Ohio Policy Center’s report, click here !