Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Turning Foreclosure Around: Jobs and Home Rehab

By Ascala Sisk, Senior Manager
Neighborhood Stabilization
NeighborWorks America

The foreclosure crisis and the economic crisis are inextricably linked. Families and neighborhoods experiencing high foreclosure rates are also those facing high unemployment. It is our experience at NeighborWorks America that solutions which support local job creation are an essential component of neighborhood revitalization. One of the key challenges of the foreclosure crisis is the negative impact vacant and blighted properties have on communities. Recently, Citi Community Development and the Citi Foundation launched an initiative which addresses both vacancy rates and small business job creation. Their Partnership for Small Business Development program convenes and funds a working group of national organizations that provide training and business opportunities to small business contractors owned by women and minorities.

According to the United States Small Business Administration, 65 percent of the new jobs created in America between 1993 and 2009 were in small businesses, with minority-owned businesses leading the way. Between 2002 and 2007, minority business growth outpaced that of non-minority firms in terms of total revenue, employment, and number of firms. NeighborWorks America supports this program because it is helping rehabilitate properties at the same time it supports local jobs for traditionally underserved groups. It has the potential to bring back strong neighborhoods and provide sustainable benefits to communities so that they can not only recover, but also prosper.

Man painting on a ladder
NeighborWorks America has also done its part to restore jobs while simultaneously serving local communities. In fiscal year 2011, NeighborWorks America and its affiliated NeighborWorks network created and supported an estimated 26,000 jobs. This is in addition to the many programs we run to help residents buy or rent affordable homes, build (or rebuild) communities and increase their financial capability.

Economic recovery and community stabilization will happen when jobs return.  It’s that simple and that difficult. Every effort to address one side must be connected to the other for us to succeed.

For more on ways communities are responding to the impact of foreclosures and vacancy visit the NeighborWorks America website: www.StableCommunities.org.