Foreclosures, like the subprime lending that precipitated them, have been heavily concentrated in the same vulnerable neighborhoods targeted by community development efforts over the last 20 years. The resulting vacant and abandoned properties threaten the property values of neighboring homeowners, invite crime and discourage future investment.
In 2007, Living Cities, a national philanthropic collaboration of 21 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, recognized the urgency of finding promising approaches to address the realities of the foreclosure crisis.
Recognizing that there was no “one-size-fits-all” solution to reclaiming vacant and foreclosed properties, Living Cities approached key coalitions in over a dozen markets to learn more about their work, their needs and how Living Cities might best be able to support this work. The goal was to support pilot programs in three types of markets—weak, moderate (or mixed) and strong. Living Cities selected 10 projects from around the country that all had the potential to:
Quickly begin operations
Be replicated in other cities
Work with hundreds of units over two to three years
Marshal resources including capital, data and talent
Provide a meaningful role for Living Cities funding