This evaluation report shares preliminary findings from the evaluation of our Foreclosure Mitigation Initiative that was developed in response to the foreclosure crisis.

In response to the foreclosure crisis, Living Cities developed the Foreclosure Mitigation Initiative (FMI) in late 2007. Under this initiative, Living Cities made $5.25 million worth of grants to organizations in 10 locations: eight cities and parts of two states. The purpose of these grants was to support new efforts to stabilize neighborhoods facing large numbers of foreclosed, often vacant housing units. FMI was developed with the expectation that the federal government would provide funding for the acquisition and resale of foreclosed properties. Therefore, as initially conceived, FMI funding was to support innovative local neighborhood stabilization pilots that would be implemented quickly and so be able to serve as models for replication when federal funds became available.

Living Cities asked the Urban Institute to conduct an evaluation of the FMI effort. The Interim Report presents preliminary findings for each of the following eight research questions on the FMI program:

  1. How did the FMI pilots fare against their expectations for becoming fully operational and for achieving acquisition, rehabilitation, and disposition goals? For testing innovative approaches to foreclosure mitigation?

  2. What factors influenced their successes?

  3. What were the major obstacles to successful implementation, and what are the potential and the known solutions?

  4. How did federal funding (through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program [NSP]) affect the initiatives, and how did the initiative affect federal funding?

  5. What early sense, if any, can we get of the impact of this work?

  6. What conclusions can we draw about what did and did not work?

  7. What can we learn about the role of different players (nonprofits, banks and servicers, state and local governments, philanthropy) in this process?

  8. What are the implications of the Living Cities initiative for how philanthropy responds to crises?

This summary briefly highlights some of the key findings discussed in the Interim Report. A final report, based on further research, will be prepared for March 2010.