Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Dozen Organizations Fighting to Reverse Effects of Foreclosures Featured in New NeighborWorks Report

By Sarah Greenberg
Senior Manager, Community Stabilization
NeighborWorks America

I’m pleased to share with you a new report that features how 12 NeighborWorks organizations are stabilizing communities impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

These organizations work in very different markets — urban, suburban and rural — but they all demonstrate the “Five Cs of Community Stabilization,” a paradigm developed by the National Community Stabilization Trust to help define and identify effective local community stabilization efforts. The Five Cs are outlined below.*

The release of this report is timely, with the prospect of another wave of foreclosures looming and a brief pause between rounds of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, as localities prepare their plans for Round 3.

We learned a lot in the process of creating this new publication. In community development, we’re always on the lookout for innovation, but the truth is that true innovation is rare. Innovation in community development primarily happens at the margins, as a result of adapting tried and true strategies to new markets and new situations, and unfortunately, often in response to a crisis.

The report confirms what we have been seeing since the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, which is that the most effective response to rebuild and revitalize communities is the comprehensive approach that high-quality nonprofits like the organizations in the NeighborWorks Network have been implementing for decades.

Further, we found that those communities that were able to make the best and most efficient use of their Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding are the ones that invested into an existing structure of community revitalization and housing rehabilitation programs, often led by nonprofit community development corporations in partnership with their municipal housing department.

I’d love to hear what you learn from this new publication, Implementing the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP): Community Stabilization in the NeighborWorks Network.

Feel free to share your thoughts using the comment button below.

* The 5 Cs of Community Stabilization:

  1. Comprehensive – Community stabilization efforts should result from a plan that addresses all destabilizing forces in the community.
  2. Concentration – Community stabilization efforts should be targeted for maximum impact.
  3. Collaboration – Community stabilization efforts should include a broad array of partners with a strong focus on resident engagement.
  4. Capacity – Community stabilization efforts should be undertaken by organizations with demonstrated capacity in the planned activities.
  5. Capital – Community stabilization efforts should be adequately capitalized and explore creative methods to take advantage of new sources of capital.