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Thursday, August 21, 2008

City of Minneapolis Strategy to deal with foreclosures

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Blogger Bob said...

City of Minneapolis Five-Point Strategy
to Restore a Healthy Housing Market in North Minneapolis
The Department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) – in partnership with community organizations, housing developers, funders, lenders and government partners – is implementing an aggressive five-point strategy to restore a healthy housing market in North Minneapolis. This summary outlines what the City is doing currently to implement this strategy.
Strategy 1: Prevent Foreclosures
Our first strategy is to prevent foreclosures by providing counseling and appropriate mortgage products to first-time homebuyers and current homeowners seeking to refinance their homes.

The City is partnering with the Northside Home Fund on aggressive strategies through research and legislative and legal action that address predatory practices.

The City has increased funding for the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program, enabling the MN Home Ownership Center and its community partners to hire additional counselors, and continues to fund the Don’t Borrow Trouble public education campaign. The City uses the Minneapolis 311 phone system to assist residents at risk of foreclosure.

In partnership with the Business Information Services and Regulatory Services Departments, the City is expanding the innovative Early Warning System to provide more accurate information on potential foreclosures and problem properties.

The City works with regional and community partners to educate area realtors about the CityLiving mortgage loan program, the HomeStretch pre-purchase training program and provides information on pre-purchase financial assistance programs to elected officials and community organizations.

Strategy 2: Prevent Properties from Becoming Boarded & Vacant
When foreclosure cannot be prevented, our second strategy is to keep foreclosed or abandoned properties from becoming vacant, blighted, hazardous, or targets for crime.

The City has joined with the Family Housing Fund, MN Housing and the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC) to create a $12 million Strategic Acquisition Fund, which will allow GMHC to quickly acquire and rehabilitate foreclosed or boarded and vacant properties and get them back into the hands of stable homeowners.

In partnership with the Minnesota Foreclosure Partners Council, the City has initiated conversations with the mortgage industry and Minnesota Housing on possible programs to restructure loans of qualified homeowners at risk of foreclosure, in order to keep people in their homes as a first priority.

The Minnesota Foreclosure Partners Council is also working with the mortgage industry, realtors and the government to intensify use of short sales, keys for cash, deeds in lieu of foreclosure and other methods, where appropriate, to make more properties available for resale and remediation before vacancy and blight occur.

CPED is working with the City’s Regulatory Services and Police Departments, community organizations, and property management companies hired by mortgage servicers to minimize vandalism and protect these valuable Northside housing assets.
Strategy 3: Rehabilitate or Remove Boarded & Vacant Buildings
For properties that have become boarded and vacant, the best strategy is rapid rehabilitation or removal, to minimize the blighting influence and facilitate positive redevelopment.
With support of the Family Housing Fund and Northside Home Fund, the City has identified six high-impact housing clusters to redevelop in partnership with neighborhood organizations and developers. These six initial clusters include 306 homes and businesses.

City departments – including CPED, Regulatory Services, Health and Family Services, Police and Public Works – are taking a coordinated approach to these clusters to make improvements so noticeable that positive change will radiate to adjacent blocks.

CPED and the Regulatory Services Department are working aggressively to address all boarded and vacant buildings within city limits during the next three years. We are now conducting a windshield survey and analysis to determine the best remediation solution for each property. Options may include purchase by the City, referral to the Strategic Acquisition Fund, and private-sector rehabilitation using the City’s 249-ordinance legal authority.

To reduce visual blight, CPED is piloting the use of alternative boarding practices on vacant and boarded structures. CPED is also working with the Regulatory Services Department to amend policies and practices that govern the way the City secures properties when condemnation occurs.
Strategy 4: Promote Reinvestment & Environmental Sustainability
Quality is contagious. The City believes that if it sets a high-quality example, on projects over which it has direct influence, this will in turn attract high-quality private investment.

CPED has begun to review and update the City’s housing design standards to include environmentally sustainable attributes and quality amenities.

The City has partnered with Tree Trust to plant 30 additional trees in Hawthorne Eco Village, one of the Northside Home Fund clusters.

The City partnered with Rebuilding Together for a second summer and has rehabilitated 20 homes in North Minneapolis, 11 of which are located in the clusters.
Strategy 5: Attract & Retain a Healthy Mix of Stable Residents
Ultimately it is the mix of Northside residents, including homeowners and renters – not the properties themselves – that will create and sustain a healthy Northside community.

The City participated in the development of a marketing campaign to attract residents to live and stay in North Minneapolis.

CPED worked with Mayor’s office and neighborhoods impacted by foreclosures to create a down payment assistance program—Minneapolis Advantage—that will attract potential buyers to purchase homes in these affected neighborhoods.

The City is supporting efforts with the Family Housing Fund, Northside Home Fund and other partners to promote block clubs and other community capacity building activities.
For more information on the initiatives described here, and links to partner organizations, visit the City of Minneapolis web site at: http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/foreclosure/ .

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Mpls has a code compliance requirement on vacant buildings in Mpls?



Jim

11:13 AM  

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