A national nonprofit group has awarded $1.9 million in grants to renovate and “stabilize” foreclosed or vacant homes in communities nationwide. One-third of the grant will be devoted to green building.
The grants, by NeighborWorks America, will be funneled through 38 local NeighborWorks organizations throughout the country.
Each local group will use its $50,000 grant to support its community stabilization efforts, which are primarily focused on acquiring, renovating, and selling foreclosed or vacant homes to low- and moderate-income families.
The grants will help the community-based NeighborWorks organizations launch local housing activities designed to reduce their communities’ inventory of bank-owned (REO) properties, reverse the deterioration caused by foreclosures, and market their neighborhoods to potential homebuyers.
Altogether, the grantees and their local strategic partners plan to purchase about 2,800 housing units. After necessary improvements, 1,400 homes will be sold, 630 will become rental housing, 322 will be sold through lease-purchase programs, and about 451 blighted homes will be demolished.
About 8,000 prospective homeowners will be served through pre-purchase counseling programs expanded to address the challenges of buying bank-owned properties.
While stabilization strategies will vary by market, most will support the creation of new affordable-housing opportunities for renters and buyers. Most grantees are planning a variety of programs designed to bring people back to homes that are foreclosed or abandoned.
Among the projects planned:
• Neighborhood Finance Corporation (Des Moines, Iowa) intends to spur investment around the properties it rehabilitates by offering affordable home improvement loans to nearby homeowners.
• Housing Partnership of Northeast Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.) will acquire and rehabilitate a 52-unit multifamily property that will serve low-income renters, Section 8 voucher holders, and homeless families in transition. They are also planning to acquire and sell 15 single-family properties and expand their first-time-homebuyer counseling program.
• NHS of New Haven (Conn.) intends to strategically acquire properties on otherwise -table residential blocks in order to “prevent disinvestment from spreading.” The group also believes in making redevelopment visible: Where possible, clusters of properties will be developed for maximum visual impact.
• NHS of Minneapolis (Minn.) plans to invest in “troubled” housing markets nestled within commercial nodes, but still ripe for additional development due to ongoing commercial and physical infrastructure investments.
Green building will play a significant role in one-third of the stabilization plans. These include producing energy-efficient properties, using green rehab design standards, creating alternate green space from vacant lots, and counseling homebuyers about energy reduction strategies.
Among these efforts:
• LaCasa Inc. (Newark, N.J.) plans to develop 27 energy-efficient properties for resale.
• Hudson River Housing (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) will use green techniques for rehabilitating older buildings.
• Neighborhood Development Services (Ravenna, Ohio) plans to use green specifications to rehab and resell 30 homes in Northeastern Ohio.
Most NeighborWorks grantees will leverage their grant toward projects supported by the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) administered by HUD. To learn more, visit www.StableCommunities.org, or contact Erin Angell Collins at 202-220-6317.