Suburbs Battle Blight Left By Foreclosures

Attempting to ward off a panic in the real estate market, cities in Ohio, Georgia, Illinois, and elsewhere are tapping into their coffers to eradicate foreclosure-related blight.

"Officials are installing alarms, fixing broken windows and mowing lawns at the vacant houses in hopes of preventing a snowball effect, in which surrounding property values suffer and worried neighbors move away. The officials are also working with financially troubled homeowners to renegotiate debts or, when eviction is unavoidable, to find apartments."

"It's a tragedy and it's just beginning," Mayor Judith H. Rawson of Shaker Heights, (Ohio) a mostly affluent suburb, said of the evictions and vacancies, a problem fueled by a rapid increase in high-interest, subprime loans. "All those shaky loans are out there, and the foreclosures are coming."

"Foreclosures in Cleveland's inner ring of suburbs, while still low compared with those in Cleveland itself, have climbed sharply, especially in lower-income neighborhoods that border the city. The suburbs here are among the best organized in their counterattack, experts say, but many suburbs elsewhere in the country have had jumps in foreclosures and are also working to stem the damage."

Full Story: Foreclosures Force Suburbs to Fight Blight

Comments

Comments

Sad but familiar

Widespread mortgage fraud, which is what has essentially been occurring in the subprime lending market the last few years, is not a new phenomenon. Nor is the resulting blight and abandonment. This also happened throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s, during white flight from the central cities. It's especially unfortunate to see the process that so thoroughly wrecked US cities during those years rearing back up to wreak further destruction.

smart growth v. abandoned property

So if we are for smart growth and high density and folks moving back to the city, are we not implicitly for some form of blight in the suburbs? Is not "blight" just another word for giving the area back to nature, or potentially to farmers? I do not like the fact that so many people are being hurt by it, nor the manner in which it is occurring.

I think we ought to separate the phenomena into two parts: people (mostly poor) are losing their investments and their houses. This is something very much worth fighting. On the other hand, there are abandoned houses that towns are artificially supporting in order to recreate growth in the neighborhood, and to discourage more people from leaving. If this is in a suburban area, why not encourage the demolition of these houses while we have the opportunity?

smart current assets.

So if we are for smart growth and high density and folks moving back to the city, are we not implicitly for some form of blight in the suburbs? ...If this is in a suburban area, why not encourage the demolition of these houses while we have the opportunity?

We are not for ALL folks moving back to the city, because not all folks think moving back to the city is a good idea. Therefore, we must provide housing for the suburb-preferring folks too. Until one possible future out of many occurs, and suburban living becomes too expensive for everybody, people will choose to live there.

Since the housing is already provided, it is the city's choice to protect these properties, as it is likely that the house will be wanted in the short-term future.

Best,

D

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