Safe, affordable and accessible housing remains a core element of the American Dream. The need for predictability in the mortgage finance markets presents an ongoing challenge for cities. It is therefore essential that local leaders plan for land uses that help residents match the array of housing needs they have over a lifetime with appropriate housing options in the community. Resources here include research studies, conference reports, individual city case examples, policy recommendations and opinion pieces.
Metropolitan Leadership Forum, Phoenix, Arizona
As part of a project focusing on leadership roles and policy decisions by municipal elected officials and their partners in community organizations across Arizona, the National League of Cities hosted a Metropolitan Leadership Forum in Phoenix during February 2013. At the conclusion of the forum, participants identified action steps in the fields of planning, partnership, leadership and citizen engagement that will help to build more sustainable and resilient communities.
Boston Housing Strategies Serve Residents for the Long-term
In the city of Boston, local leaders are committed to long-term efforts that educate new mortgage borrowers, support existing homeowners, mitigate foreclosure and stabilize neighborhoods. Initiatives such as the Boston Home Center, Don’t Borrow Trouble and the Foreclosure Intervention Team have helped to achieve resilient neighborhoods that provide opportunities for economic prosperity for the city’s residents.
Managing Foreclosed and Vacant Properties
Access to the webinar on Managing Foreclosed and Vacant Properties which highlights a resource publication from NLC and also presents perspectives from the banking industry and from private sector managers of vacant properties (Four presentations; running time approx. 70 minutes)
Baltimore, Md., Works to Reduce Vacant Housing and Urban Blight
As a result of one of the largest percentage declines in population among major U.S. cities from 1950 to 2000, Baltimore is challenged with approximately 16,000 vacant buildings, roughly 25% of which are city owned. Baltimore Housing estimates that more than 5,700 of the vacant structures are in areas with existing or emerging development demand.
City leaders play a key role in working with national, state, local and non-profit partners to help residents keep their homes and help communities cope with the ongoing effects of the foreclosure crisis. This guide offers solutions for the challenges that cities and city leaders face in dealing with foreclosures: preventing vacancies, preventing deterioration, rehabilitation and re-use and demolition.
Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures
The National League of Cities teamed up as a partner in the Building Resilient Region's Network (BRR). BRR, funded by the MacArthur Foundation, is a network of scholars and practitioners exploring regional solutions to a variety of challenges.
Foreclosures, Unemployment, Home Price & Building Permits in the U.S. and 20 U.S. Cities
A study of housing foreclosures, unemployment rates, average home price, and number of building permits issued for new housing between 2007 and 2010 in the U.S. shows that, after initial increases in foreclosures (depicted in red in Figure 1) and unemployment (depicted in green in Figure 1), these rates leveled off between 2009 and 2010.
Jackson, Mich., Seeks to Eliminate Blight, Vacant Properties (February 27, 2012)
Difficult economic times have forced cities to embrace their creativity and develop innovative methods for addressing challenges. The City of Jackson, Mich., has begun to explore a number of initiatives, such as form-based codes and shared-service agreements to improve efficiency throughout its local government. Strengthening the interactions among the city's staff is also at the core of the problem-solving approach in Jackson.
Screaming for Housing Demolition (February 16, 2012)
In a country that cannot adequately house all of its citizens, both government and private-sector actors will bulldoze more than two million homes in the time before us. Implemented on a vast scale already thanks to dollars from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), the pace of demolition will quicken as the winter months recede.
How Can Municipalities Confront the Vacant Property Challenge?
A collaboration between the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, and Business and Professional People for the Public Interest produced a report in March 2010. The brief offers nine tools to respond to the challenge of vacant and abandoned properties in the context of the home mortgage foreclosure crisis.
Better City Plans Through More Public Engagement
In the last year the cities of Philadelphia, El Paso, Texas and Norfolk, Virginia each embarked on significant efforts to reframe the built environment through updates to zoning guidelines. Although each outcome will be unique and interesting in its own right, the unifying factor linking all three cities together is the aggressive drive to include residents as citizen planners.
In Defense of Housing Regulation (Next American City, June 18, 2012)
It's hard for a person who actually believes that government can and should try to solve problems to have a serious discussion with a person who sees government itself as the central problem in society. Nonetheless, embracing this challenge, I attended the recent panel discussion hosted by Next American City and featuring libertarian author and Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O'Toole.
The trend line is moving in the direction of urban community models. If borne out over the next decade or two, this shift will represent the most dramatic change in land use, housing and transportation patterns since the completion of Levittown in 1951. The impact of this trend on local governments will be as unique as each community's geography, demographics and capacity to manage change.
Report Examines the State of the Nation's Rental Housing (July 5, 2011)
The home rental market is growing at a powerful rate. The 2011 State of the Nation's Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University attributes the booming rental market to a combination of factors, including a troubled homeowner market, unemployment and demographic shifts.
Report Offers Overview of the State of the Nation's Housing (June 27, 2011)
Despite signs of economic growth, the lack of improvement in the national and regional housing sector remains troubling, and in some cases, demoralizing. According to the 2011 State of the Nation's Housing report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the national homeownership rate continued to decline last year to a low of 66.9 percent, 2.1 percent below the 2004 peak.
Rebuilding Neighborhoods Through Shared Equity Housing (2010)
Shared equity housing models are increasingly becoming a popular tool of providing permanently affordable housing for low and moderate income households. This municipal action guide explains this new framework, expands on its benefits, and provides action oriented steps for city officials
A joint initiative of the National League of Cities and The Home Depot Foundation
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
- George Washington
As part of ongoing initiatives between NLC and The Home Depot Foundation, an NLC Capstone Corporate Partner, the two organizations will combine efforts to support housing programs for the nation's military veterans, especially those who are disabled. This investment will help build NLC's capacity to provide local officials with resources, best practices and learning opportunities focused on neighborhood-based housing rehabilitation and retrofitting initiatives addressing the needs of special populations, with a particular focus on military veterans returning from combat service and with disabilities. Learn more on the Housing Rehabilitation for Veterans with Disabilities page.