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Sustainable Communities Thought Leadership

Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession

A recent research publication jointly produced by the Center for Community Progress, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Tackling Vacancy and Abandonment: Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession, aims to share some of the best practices used to address the vacancy and blight created by abandoned homes created by the foreclosure crisis and economic recession.

From the report:

More than 10 years have passed since the Great Recession and the residential foreclosure crisis it unleashed. This crisis caused millions of Americans to lose their homes, leaving many neighborhoods with concentrated vacancy, disinvestment, and erosion of their local social fabric. In the aftermath of this crisis, researchers, practitioners, and organizations like the Center for Community Progress set to work analyzing vacancy interventions and shaping redevelopment strategies to stabilize neighborhoods. 

Lessons from the Great Recession can help us assess and manage vacancy and abandonment in the uncertain times we now face in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and its eventual aftermath. The pandemic has thrown existing inequities—particularly racial inequities—into stark relief, striking Black and Brown communities hardest in terms of both the impact of the disease and a shattered economic footing. Making the recovery from COVID-19 inclusive and equitable will require community leaders to understand the strategies deployed to address the last crisis and their impacts.

Tackling Vacancy and Abandonment: Strategies and Impacts after the Great Recession is a new edited volume from the Center for Community Progress and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Cleveland that captures many of these efforts for practitioners, advocates, political leaders, and researchers looking to better understand the dynamics of vacancy and abandonment. It contains 12 articles by national experts in the field of neighborhood revitalization, including scholars from Georgia State University, the University of Michigan, the University of South Carolina School of Law, and the University of Utah, and practitioners from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), Reinvestment Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, the National Community Stabilization Trust, and the Center for Community Progress.

In their chapter, Building Resilience: Leveraging Innovative Partnerships and Low-Cost Capital to Meet Affordable Single-Family Housing Needs, ANDP’s John O’Callaghan and Mandy Eidson provide an overview of the organization’s efforts to increase its scale through innovative partnerships, attract enterprise level capital, and make a greater impact on the housing needs of Metro Atlanta.

“Since its inception in 1991, ANDP has been at the forefront of building scalable and replicable models for addressing systemic disparities through affordable housing development. In particular, the organization’s Foreclosure Response Program–launched in 2008 in direct response to the devastating foreclosure crisis–has proven a resilient model for affordable single-family development, which is badly needed in cities like Atlanta, where the bulk of affordable housing is single family and where the homeownership divide and related wealth gap between Black and White households present one of the greatest obstacles to racial equity. Over the years, ANDP has adapted its single-family production strategies in response to changing market conditions and funding opportunities, enabling the organization to become a regional leader in rehabilitating and repopulating single-family homes for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households.”

“Over the past 13 years, ANDP has developed and con­tinuously refined a production model that prioritizes and links risk-sharing partnerships and leverages enterprise-level capital to achieve scale in developing affordable single-family housing. This work began in 2008 when ANDP shifted from being a primarily ur­ban-focused multifamily housing developer to launching a large-scale Foreclosure Response Program focused on rehabilitating vacant and blighted single-family proper­ties. At the time, Georgia was facing the nation’s highest rate of bank failures, and Atlanta consistently ranked in the nation’s top metro areas for foreclosures (Georgia Watch, 2010). In response, ANDP’s board of directors unanimously voted to redirect all of the organization’s programming (housing development, lending, and advo­cacy) toward combating metro Atlanta’s devastating tide of foreclosures. Since that time, ANDP has increased its production of single-family housing from a six-home pilot to a pipeline now totaling over 700 homes benefiting LMI families, with 122 single-family units affected in fiscal year 2020 alone.”

Our thanks to Center for Community Progress, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for their work in compiling these best practices.

To read the report, visit https://communityprogress.org/publications/ccpfrbvolume/


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