Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cincinnati development director recommends five neighborhoods for foreclosure initiative

Five Cincinnati neighborhoods should be targeted for the Neighborhood Homes Initiative, according to a memo to City council from Department of Community Development director Michael Cervay.

Created in 2008 as a way to put more vacant and foreclosed properties into the hands of homeowners, the City has been working to focus the $1.25 million budgeted for the program into neighborhoods not served by other foreclosure abatement programs, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP).

Under the NHI, approximately 20 homes could be purchased by program administrator Homesteading and Urban Redevelopment Corporation (HURC), then sold to community development corporations, urban redevelopment corporations, and private developers for demolition, rehabilitation, or resale.

In April 2009, city manager Milton Dohoney Jr. had said that NSP neighborhoods should be considered for the program in order to create an "advantageous synergy" and immediate localized impact, and advised holding off on selecting the participating neighborhoods until a NSP funding plan could be put in place.

But in a survey of the ten neighborhoods needing the most foreclosure help, Cervay says that the five non-NSP neighborhoods of South Cumminsville, North Fairmount, Spring Grove Village, Kennedy Heights, and Mount Auburn were best suited for the program.

Additionally, the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati recently suggested administering a similar program in its home base of Camp Washington, Kennedy Heights, and Spring Grove Village.

They are currently working with NHI administrator HURC on the project scope and budget.

To Cervay, the neighborhoods selected for NHI should depend on their capacity to perform the work.

"The partners that the CDC Association has identified for its activities indicate capacity to implement the program in those three areas," he said.

Cervay also pointed out that South Cumminsville has strong ties to Working in Neighborhoods, and North Fairmount has a strong capacity to perform through its North Fairmount Community Center.

Mount Auburn, which had 44 foreclosures completed in 2008, might be left out of this NHI cycle.

"Mount Auburn has, to date, formed no such association with a CDC," Cervay said.

Previous reading on BC:
NHI funded neighborhoods in question (4/13/09)
Neighborhood Homes Initiative could begin in April (3/19/09)
Foreclosure initiative presented in Cincinnati council committee (5/14/08)