Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Model investment leverages five times the activity

A New Model program investment meant to help the community of Spring Grove Village has leveraged five times the expected activity in 2008, according to the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati (CDCAGC).

Program funding in the amount of $35,000, provided by the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation in December 2007, allowed the Winton Place Development Corporation (WPDC) to hire consultant Mark Brunner to help transform the non-profit from an all-volunteer organization with limited abilities into one with more capacity to stem the spread of foreclosures, vacancies, and blight.

Six neighborhood donors chipped in $10,000 each for low-interest loans, and local foundations are providing funds to purchase foreclosed houses at sheriff's sale before they get into the hands of speculators.

To lower administrative costs, CDCAGC provided backroom services such as handling the consultant's contract, taking care of finances, and helping with the reorganization of the WPDC into committees.

As a result of the program, four houses are in the process of being rehabbed, with two pre-sold and one sold.

Two other houses have been purchased and are awaiting work.

WPDC, which has been working in the neighborhood for more than 20 years, had previously been able to rehabilitate one or two properties a year.

With the restoration of the WPDC line of credit and the cost savings provided by the CDCAGC, more work is anticipated in 2009 -- including the rehabilitation of five to seven more houses and a market study of the Spring Grove Village business district.

The CDCAGC is hoping that this New Model pilot project can demonstrate the abilities of community development corporations to revitalize their communities without the need for their own executive directors and staffs.

Photo credit: CDCAGC