Community Blight Solutions is focused on understanding, solving and eliminating the problems associated with the blight that is plaguing communities nationwide. We work closely with mortgage servicers; local government officials;legislators and policymakers at the Federal and State level; first responders; and other groups to advocate for changes to policy and legislation. We also work to increase the awareness of the issues contributing to community blight.
Some of the initiatives and solutions we have supported or have been involved with include:
· Urban Blight Remediation Reduces Firearm Violence: A study conducted in Philadelphia by Dr. Charles Branas, an epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, reports on the cost-beneficial solution to reducing firearm violence through the remediation of abandoned buildings and vacant lots. The Branas study titled, Urban Blight Remediation as a Cost-Beneficial Solution to Firearm Violence, was published in the American Journal of Public Health in October 2016. The study concludes that abandoned buildings and vacant lots are blighted structures that create physical opportunities for violence by sheltering illegal activity and illegal firearms. This report is significant in that it confirms that plywood boarded properties become hubs for crime, drug activity, and fires and that clear polycarbonate is a practical, more attractive alternative for securing these properties that will help to make neighborhoods safer.
· Curing Community Blight: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Clearboarding versus Plywood to Secure Vacant and Abandoned Properties: In the second of his groundbreaking white papers, economist Aaron Klein determines that using polycarbonate clearboarding to secure vacant and abandoned properties rather than traditional plywood has significant, quantifiable economic benefits for property owners and communities. In his study titled, Curing Community Blight: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Clearboarding versus Plywood to Secure Vacant and Abandoned Properties, Aaron Klein recommends that local, state and federal officials and organizations initiate reforms that will accelerate the national trend toward using polycarbonate clearboarding to fight blight.
· Understanding the True Costs of Abandoned Properties: How Maintenance Can Make a Difference: Community Blight Solutions commissioned economist Aaron Klein (no relation to Robert Klein) to conduct a groundbreaking analysis measuring the costs blight imposes on neighborhoods and communities. His study, Understanding the True Costs of Abandoned Properties: How Maintenance Can Make a Difference, examines three main areas in which foreclosures and vacant and abandoned properties adversely impact communities: property values, crime and increased burdens on city resources.
· HB 463: In January 2017, Ohio became the first state to ban plywood boarding on vacant and abandoned properties when Gov. John Kasich signed into law HB 463. The groundbreaking legislation is a bold statement that will lead to increased use of polycarbonate clearboarding and modernize the fight against blight in Ohio. Click here to view a video and photos of the benefits of polycarbonate clearboarding.
· Fannie Mae Expanded Reimbursements: In March 2017, Fannie Mae made another significant step following its announcement in November 2016 that it will reimburse servicers for boarding with polycarbonate in preforeclosure. Fannie Mae issued a clarification instructing servicers that clearboarding should be installed on properties already boarded with plywood, or re-glazed/repaired, and provided a 90 day compliance period. In addition, a new clearboarding allowable was included in this recent clarification.
· Freddie Mac Increases Allowable for Clearboarding: In a Servicing Update Bulletin released in April 2017, Freddie Mac demonstrated its continued commitment to fight neighborhood blight with its update to servicers that it will reimburse for clearboarding on vacant and abandoned properties in pre-foreclosure. This latest announcement from Freddie Mac is another important step in the battle against community blight and is further evidence that GSEs have determined that plywood boarding is not the right solution for securing vacant and abandoned properties.
· Fast Track Legislation:Accelerating the foreclosure process to as little as six months in certain situations, enables the mortgage servicer in many cases to get possession of the property before it deteriorates and becomes a “zombie” property. Several states, including Ohio (HB 390) and Maryland (HB 702/SB 1033), have passed fast track legislation and several other states are considering similar legislation as an important step to addressing neighborhood blight.
· Slavic Village Recovery Project (SVRP): SVRP was initiated in direct response to community and housing market needs in Cleveland’s Slavic Village neighborhood. The first of its kind, this strategic partnership was forged through a diverse alliance of organizations and corporate partnerships bringing decades of experience in real estate acquisition, home renovation, urban development and home sales.
· Myth vs. Fact: Clearboarding Cost Savings: As clearboarding becomes more of the preferred method to replace plywood for boarding vacant and abandoned properties, the myths regarding the costs of clearboarding continue to grow, as well. Here are five of the most common myths along with the facts about the costs for clearboarding.
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