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In The News

JUNE 24, 2011

“Walkaways” Have a Large Impact on Vacancy Rates

Across the nation, homeowner “walkaways” are a large part of the increase in vacant and abandoned properties. Industry data estimates that 20 percent of vacant homes are abandoned by homeowners in default rather than forced by a lender. This article describes the ideal response by homeowners who are in default versus the “real” response that typically happens as a result of an unaffordable mortgage.

SOURCE: Safeguard Properties

URL: http://tinyurl.com/6aj8yrq

JUNE 24, 2011

Nationwide Foreclosure Prevention Alliance Forms Between U.S. Mayors and Wells Fargo

A new national alliance has formed between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, focusing on four neighborhood revitalization strategies: foreclosure prevention, property disposition, homeownership promotion and community development. This partnership will address the housing issues that communities face with an ultimate goal of sustaining homeownership. Wells Fargo will provide technical capacity and educational tools and the mayors will share local strategies for dealing with distressed and vacant properties.

SOURCE: DSNews, 6/16/11

URL: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/wells-fargo-and-us-mayors-form-foreclosure-prevention-alliance-2011-06-16

JUNE 24, 2011

Residents Allowed to Enter Abandoned Properties Under New Legislation

New legislation in Indiana (Senate Bill No. 582) allows non-owners to enter a real property to make a visual inspection if they suspect it is vacant or abandoned. Under this legislation, residents are also allowed to perform actions to secure or maintain the property and may then notify appropriate enforcement authorities and request that they determine whether or not it is indeed abandoned.

SOURCE: Indiana State Government website

URL: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2011/IN/IN0582.1.html

JUNE 16, 2011

Home Clearance Sale Coming From “Desperate” Sellers

The CEO of the real estate website Trulia says that home prices could resemble a “clearance sale” this summer as sellers become even more eager to sell their homes. Since prices continue to decline, Trulia predicts that sellers will want to sell before prices drop even further. Some REO houses are selling at a 50% discount. This article also covers factors affecting market trends, including tight credit and unemployment rates. See the full article.

SOURCE: CNN.com, 6/1/11

JUNE 16, 2011

Nonprofit Community Developers Face Challenging Financing Environment

The financial realities facing nonprofit community development companies are the topic of this article. The fact that resources are dwindling trickles down and hurts lower-income households, according to Eileen M. Fitzgerald, CEO of NeighborWorks America. Perhaps the most important need is financing to create affordability. Nonprofit developers are approaching this problem by creating solutions for development, partnerships and strategic planning.

SOURCE: Multi-HousingNews.com

JUNE 16, 2011

Wisconsin High School Students Learn While Constructing Duplexes

Students at Appleton High School in Appleton, Wisconsin, are participating in a construction class where they work onsite to build affordable housing units. This partnership between the Appleton Housing Authority and Appleton Area School District is helping the neighborhood with issues like blight, improving affordable housing options for low-income residents, and providing students with valuable work skills.

SOURCE: Appleton (Wisconsin) Post-Crescent

JUNE 16, 2011

How to Save Community Development from a Budgetary Free-Fall

What can community development associations can do when budget crises hit their states? Despite economic troubles, many nonprofits continue to make progress and deal with crisis issues. The article looks at various definitions of “success” during hard times, which includes new partnerships, funding sources, and legislative work. Sometimes success is relative, and sometimes success is hard to come by. Still, a crisis can create new opportunities.

SOURCE: The Nonprofit Quarterly

JUNE 5, 2011

Enhancing Communication With Code Enforcement Officials

Safeguard Properties — a field services company that conducts inspections and maintenance on properties that have defaulted or been foreclosed upon — has partnered with the American Association of Code Enforcement to provide training for local and national officials that are dealing with vacant properties. This article highlights the importance of partnerships between municipalities and loan servicers, and highlights the Safeguard training that will help create trained and qualified code officers.

SOURCE: Mortgage Servicing News, 5/11/11

JUNE 5, 2011

Greening a Community and Putting Vacant Land to Use Through Civic Engagement

New Kensington CDC in Philadelphia is addressing vacant land issues though a community-led volunteer strategy that works closely with civic organizations. The organization is partnering with several neighborhood groups that do weekly cleanups and is working to turn a vacant lot into a community garden with raised beds for potatoes, corn, lettuce and herbs. These plans will improve the aesthetics of the community as well as local economics and will increase the value of nearby lots.

SOURCE: Leaders for Communities, 5/11/11

JUNE 5, 2011

Maintaining the Viability of Small-Scale Rental Housing

The need for unity between owners of rental properties, city housing inspectors and tenants was the topic of a recent roundtable that looked at ways to make communities viable. Some believe that homeownership has been overemphasized, while not enough attention has been paid to rental housing and important rental housing issues. Some of the issues that need to be addressed include acquisition and rehabilitation financing, compliance with government regulations, problems with absentee landlords, tenant selection, tenant retention and eviction.

SOURCE: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, Cascade No. 77, Spring/Summer 2011

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