Addressing Vacant Properties
Vacant properties destabilize neighborhoods, lower property values, and attract crime. Woodstock Institute advocates for policies that require better maintenance and reuse of vacant, abandoned homes.
This report summarizes some of the successes of the work of the organizations that participated in the Regional Housing Partnership (RHP), which was supported by the Chicago Community Trust.
In this first part of our Theory of Change series of blog posts and images, Woodstock President Dory Rand explains the ways in which Woodstock Institute is working to achieve our mission of creating a just financial system in which lower-wealth people and communities, and people and communities of color, can achieve economic security and community prosperity. In this series, our research and policy staff will discuss the strategies we use to effect positive, lasting financial systems change.
The City of Chicago requires the owners of vacant properties to register them with the city, and to secure and maintain them. The city amended its vacant building registration ordinance in November 2011 to require mortgagees to register vacant properties in an effort to address the growing problems created by vacant buildings stuck in the lengthy foreclosure process.
This report examines data from the Chicago vacant building website, of which the vacant building registry is a part, and compares those data with vacant property address data from the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This report also looks at extent to which the change to the City of Chicago vacant building registration requirements affected registrations overall and the income and racial composition of the census tracts in which the properties are located.
By Alana Semuels
CHICAGO—When he moved back to Chicago after being away for 15 years, Maurice Samuels, 40, never thought he’d live in Woodlawn. He grew up in the area on the South Side of Chicago, and remembered its deterioration well. When he left in his twenties, Woodlawn "used to be run down," he said. There were vacant homes and walking around, he said, you didn't feel safe.
Woodstock and other advocates have long raised the issue of vacant properties in the Chicago region and the seemingly endless ways they negatively affect our communities.
Cook County is currently home to 55,000 vacant properties with 33,000 of them in Chicago alone.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a report earlier this month finding that adoption of a fast-track foreclosure process for abandoned properties in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania would save the states at least $24 million annually.
A group of community organizers worked from the end of 2012 into the spring of 2013 cleaning out an abandoned two-flat at 4824 W. Van Buren St.
This fact sheet summarizes the Unresolved Foreclosures: Patterns of Zombie Properties in Cook County report, which examines the extent to which mortgage servicers are filing for foreclosure and then not pursuing the case to resolution in different types of communities in Cook County, Illinois. The report defines a zombie property as a property with a foreclosure filing that has not been resolved for more than three years. Because neither the borrower nor the servicer has clear control of the property, neither has an incentive to assume responsibility for the property. Zombie properties, therefore, are likely to threaten neighborhood stability by being poorly maintained or blighted, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, The report concludes with recommendations to reduce the negative impact of zombie properties on communities in Cook County.
Watt brings experience and fresh ideas to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regulator
Every six months, Dave McDowell rounds up a group of volunteers, hands them legal pads and pens, and sends them out to log the addresses of every vacant property they can find within a roughly three-square-mile area on Chicago’s Southwest Side.
How can organizations from different sectors overcome barriers and collaborate to promote a housing market recovery and revitalize communities?
For our 40th anniversary, we have secured some incredible keynote speakers you’re sure to enjoy. From a range of backgrounds and expertise, our speakers will make you think differently about the work you do every day.