In 2008, responding to the impact of concentrated foreclosures on urban neighborhoods, Living Cities launched an initiative to catalyze, test and learn from 10 of the most promising local pilot efforts to reclaim foreclosed properties. The June 2009 convening, the second of its kind, brought together the grantees, other recognized local innovators, leading national practitioners, Living Cities member organizations and other public and private stakeholders. The goal of the convening was to explore the work of these leaders, identify and discuss common challenges and explore solutions.
Though the local practitioners shared a common goal — to stabilize communities and create/preserve affordable housing by returning foreclosed properties to productive use — no two initiatives are the same. Some organizations, including the Detroit Office of Foreclosure Prevention and Response and the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, were created for the specific purpose of coordinating otherwise disjointed responses to the crisis. Others, such as Neighborhood Progress, Inc. in Cleveland and Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, are creating or adapting programs within existing organizations. Some, like the Community Asset Preservation Corporation of New Jersey, are working to acquire and reclaim foreclosed properties in bulk; others, like those in Massachusetts, are buying their properties a few at a time. In short, there is no one solution.