When Investors Buy Up the Neighborhood
In St. Paul (Minn.) yesterday, we held the first community meeting in the Twin Cities to share our new report about how to deal with investors who are buying up properties in neighborhoods hard-hit by foreclosures.
In the new report (“When Investors Buy Up the Neighborhood: Strategies to Prevent Investor Ownership from Causing Neighborhood Decline”, authored by Kalima Rose and myself), we researched strategies that communities can use to deter unscrupulous slumlords and flippers, incentivize homebuyers and responsible investors, and take community control of foreclosed properties. The report provides a framework for taking action, presenting 36 promising strategies culled from across the country.
This project came to us from The Northwest Area Foundation and the Family Housing Fund, an anti-poverty philanthropy and housing organization, that were concerned about this challenge facing the same low-income communities of color that already bearing the brunt of a financial crisis that originated with irresponsible mortgage lending practices.
Representatives from many St. Paul neighborhoods – Frogtown, Payne-Phalen, East Side—all described different ways this issue was impeding efforts to build healthy, opportunity-rich neighborhoods. The crowd of residents, community organizers, housing organizers, philanthropists, neighborhood groups, and city officials thought that some of the strategies in the report – Atlanta’s program that trains residents to do code inspections, for example – could be useful for them.
And they came up with some additional ideas, like changing state law on how titles are tracked and launching a regional taskforce on regulation and enforcement. Empowering neighborhood residents – the eyes and ears of the community – to track the issue and take action was another key theme, along with empowering the new Twin Cities Community Land Bank.
It was a great start, and I am excited for today’s meeting in Minneapolis.