"Another step taken toward Breaking the Cycle of Abandonment"... Forward or Backward?

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 02/05/2009 - 21:52.

Chart of Cleveland City Council HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program Spending

This just in, via Cleveland City Council, via Facebook... "Another step taken toward Breaking the Cycle of Abandonment". This is about how City Council has decided to spend our community's $25 million in Federal taxpayer funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) - the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development - intended to help our impoverished inner city. You must ask yourself, who decided how your $25,000,000 should be spent here, how did they really decide this, and is this a step forward or backwards?

If ever there was a time when citizens of Cleveland must follow $25,000,000 in taxpayer money taken from the paychecks of citizens of America for urban redevelopment here, now moving from the pockets of our Mayor and Cleveland City Council members to their chosen ones, it is now... especially as our community may expect $100,000,000s more in similar funds, in coming years, through further federal government economic stimulus programs.

Is this how you want your $25,000,000 spent? How about the next $100,000,000?

Table of Cleveland City Council HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program spending

This $25 million in Federal HUD funds is already allocated here to "provide emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities. The Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) provides grants to every state and certain local communities to purchase foreclosed or abandoned homes and to rehabilitate, resell, or redevelop these homes in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the decline of house values of neighboring homes."

It is not clear exactly how the City Council intends to spend this money, and where in the community, and that must be determined, exactly. One concern is certainly the $15,000,000 or nearly 60% of the money to be spent on demolitions. But there is no less reason to be concerned about how will be spent any money for new development...

More than $4 million of the NSP funds has been specifically set aside to create rental housing opportunities for households with an income of 50% or less of the average median income (AMI). Another $2 million has been allocated to encourage quality rehabilitation. Both of these strategies rely on loans, project subsidies and grants to for profit and non-profit organizations and developers. Almost $2.5 million has been specified for a construction loan program that model block areas within Cleveland to revive transitional and fragile housing markets, where up to 40% of the cost of a single family renovation would be lent by the City of Cleveland.

It is safe to assume this new economic development money will follow through the "Connecting Cleveland 2020", "Strategic Investment Initiative", "More Sustainable Cleveland" networks, going to Neighborhood Progress Incorporated, select CDCs, and friends and family (literally) to demolish houses and assemble land in SII Zones, that will be given or sold at low cost to real estate developer friends, who will receive additional money to build subsidized rental and above market housing, and lots of other friends and family will profit.

Shocking is that $350,000 is to be spent on "demolition support in the form of increased workforce"... "two residential housing inspectors, a site inspector, a senior clerk to the Diligent Title Unit and a paralegal for the Diligent Title Unit"... not to mention "almost $600,000 in NSP funds to hire additional personnel to administer aspects of the program", and "More than $650,000 in NSP funds is to be specifically used for Operation Prevent – an integrated data system"... totaling over $1,600,000 or 6% for dubious administrative and overhead spending.

That "$500,000 of the NSP funds have been set aside to harness the creativity of Cleveland’s communities to find new uses for vacant land such as urban gardening, pocket parks, environmentally sensitive storm water management, bioremediation of hazards and green energy generation" is likely funding of Neighborhood Progress Inc., Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Shaker Lakes Nature Center, the Natural History Museum cum Green City Blue Lake Institute and Kent Urban Design Collaborative to implement pilot green projects around the Cleveland Foundation Strategic Investment Initiative Zone plan, and should likely be counted as administration and overhead as well.

That is about it. Nothing for socially equitable urban redevelopment, or foreclosure prevention, or blight prevention, or growing real food.

No programming focused around social services, or public health, or real human crisis management.

This is just increased funding for more infrastructure and enforcement and expanding destruction and segregation in discrimination against the most vulnerable, to benefit the rich.

Does how the Cleveland City Council intends to spend this money meet the intent and expectations of this Federal Program?

Does the Cleveland City Council plan remotely live up to the intent and expectations of United States President Barack Obama and our new Federal leadership?

Does the Cleveland City Council plan remotely live up to your expectations?

Was the public ever consulted on any of this, really?

Read on and you decide...

Another step taken toward Breaking the Cycle of Abandonment

Council passes $25 million program to address vacant and abandoned housing

Cleveland City Council took another significant step toward Breaking the Cycle of Abandonment last night by passing legislation that addresses how $25 million in funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) are to be used. The Council, in collaboration with the Jackson Administration, developed a multi-faceted approach to tackling vacancy and abandonment in the City of Cleveland.

There are several key elements to the overall plan for strategic use of NSP funds, including (1) eliminating blight conditions; (2) expanding land bank opportunities; (3) working with community organizations on aggressive code enforcement; (4) encouraging and sustaining investment in Cleveland’s current housing stock through rehabilitation; (5) varying the development approach in neighborhoods based on need and market potential; (6) stabilizing the residential housing market; (7) focusing on green land redevelopment efforts; and (8) developing “Operation Prevent” centered on an integrated data system that increases department to department communication aimed at combating the dumping of severely distressed properties into Cleveland’s housing stock.

The core elements of the NSP legislation cover the full scope of the foreclosure crisis, including demolition, rehabilitation of distressed properties and prevention of a further infusion of toxic properties into Cleveland’s housing market. All action will further the elements of the strategic approach to Break the Cycle of Abandonment, including using inspection to support reinvestment through rehabilitation, using aggressive code enforcement to discourage flipping of properties without proper repairs, the initiation of site control after demolition, requiring demolished lots be properly cleared to encourage future development and the use of deconstruction methods that recycle materials.

In addition to $15 million allotted for demolition, more than $350,000 has been allocated for demolition support in the form of increased workforce. The legislation authorizes the Cleveland Building and Housing Department to hire two residential housing inspectors, a site inspector, a senior clerk to the Diligent Title Unit and a paralegal for the Diligent Title Unit. The Cleveland Department of Community Development is scheduled to receive almost $600,000 in NSP funds to hire additional personnel to administer aspects of the program as well.

Cleveland has long been a leader in innovate uses for vacant land such as urban gardening. $500,000 of the NSP funds have been set aside to harness the creativity of Cleveland’s communities to find new uses for vacant land such as urban gardening, pocket parks, environmentally sensitive storm water management, bioremediation of hazards and green energy generation.

More than $4 million of the NSP funds has been specifically set aside to create rental housing opportunities for households with an income of 50% or less of the average median income (AMI). Another $2 million has been allocated to encourage quality rehabilitation. Both of these strategies rely on loans, project subisidies and grants to for profit and non-profit organizations and developers. Almost $2.5 million has been specified for a construction loan program that model block areas within Cleveland to revive transitional and fragile housing markets, where up to 40% of the cost of a single family renovation would be lent by the City of Cleveland.

More than $650,000 in NSP funds is to be specifically used for Operation Prevent – an integrated data system capable of providing real time information on the ownership, code enforcement, utility service, real estate transaction, foreclosure, occupancy, cost recovery and public acquisition status of vacant, abandoned and at risk properties. The data system is to be compatible with other local data sources such as the City and County land banks, all City departments and County offices. The Operation Prevent integrated data system will provide for a proactive prevention program to improve the Cleveland Building and Housing Department’s capacity to enforce existing laws and allow multiple departments to quickly identify actionable activities for stabilizing housing disinvestment through abandonment, foreclosure and destructive market activities. Access to the same set of data in real time should drastically increase department to department communication as well as the speed at which housing issues can be tackled.

The passage of the NSP legislation is the latest step in Cleveland City Council’s ongoing efforts to combat foreclosure and to revive the Cleveland housing market. Since the start of the current term in January 2006, Cleveland City Council has focused on the foreclosure crisis and the resulting presence of vacant and abandoned properties in the City of Cleveland. Cleveland City Council’s efforts to Break the Cycle of Abandonment include a four step, holistic approach, addressing Detection, Prevention, Maintenance and Blight Elimination, and Redevelopment. In February 2008, Council’s Initiative was highlighted in a day-long forum on foreclosure held for the presidential candidates.

Each and every Cleveland neighborhood is affected by the problem of vacant and abandoned properties. Cleveland City Council is committed to working with community leaders and all Clevelanders toward a solution that addresses the needs of the residents of these neighborhoods and makes Cleveland a place people choose to live, work, learn and play.

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Backward...so backward

  Wow Norm...it's five thirty a.m. and I am on this site with my councilman...after I spent all night trying to analyze the information sent to us by Katherine Bulava (who does deserve credit for doing her job well)...I can not articulate my horror with this agenda any better than you have in this post.

Nothing for socially equitable urban redevelopment, or foreclosure prevention, or blight prevention, or growing real food.

No programming focused around social services, or public health, or real human crisis management.

This agenda will further more segregation, more polarization and more human misery, while developers profit.

It is a sad, sad day in NEO.

 

Board game

  How did a whole city become a board game for developers?  Norm--please submit your post as an editorial to the Plain Dealer. 

that city plan map is

that city plan map is hilarious...why didn't they just fill the entire city in red. :)

developers 2,000,000 residents of cleveland 0

I mentioned this before based on a peedee story comment:

"IS THIS COMMENT, seemingly by someone in the know.... Maybe I didnt make this clear the first time I posted this - the city is using the federal neighborhood improvement money to provide up to $2mill in GRANTS to developers in addition to 0% and 3% loans to developers while doing nothing for residents . "

Thanks for fleshing out these details, Norm - as painful as that is... The city really has put its intelligent thoughtful citizens on the brink of flight.

I suspected something like this was coming down the pike, based on TWDCs actions. Should we start to catalogue the demos starting? We're already behind. 

another gem in the crown

here's another gem in the crown:

Sen. George Voinovich criticizes HUD over selling blighted Cleveland homes 

 "Elected officials and housing activists have long complained about HUD's practices in dealing with foreclosed homes in Cleveland. They have accused HUD of ignoring offers by community groups to purchase homes for rehabilitation or demolition and instead sell them to speculators and out-of-town investors. "

So Voinovich is why Slavic Village is included... nostalgia

I still don't understand how and why "Airport" is a Strategic Investment Initiative Zone (any thoughts) and I wondered why Slavic Village was included, until I saw the article you mention in the PD, about "the senator has been angered by HUD's practices in Cleveland, especially in the Slavic Village neighborhood where he grew up."

So Republican Senator Voinovich teamed up with our Master Planners to include the neighborhood his family certainly abandoned years ago in the Master Plan for our city (where does Voinovich have houses/condos/apartments, anyways?).

That's a good reason to make it a Strategic Investment Initiative Zone.

Any money in there for a Voinovich Museum and Library? 

Disrupt IT

If correct, he ain't coming back to Cleveland

I guess Senators make lots of money... here are some addresses listed for Senator Voinovich... Google Map them and you will see what real luxury-living looks like... except the Cleveland address seems to be for a bungalow near the lake... the old Voinovich homestead, after Slavic Village, still in the Senator's portfolio, perhaps... vacation cottage? No electric gate... no place for security to park... anyone really home here?

Is this where the Voinovichs stay when in Northeast Ohio? 

These addresses came from a citizen action site monitoring how Senators voted on their issues so the data is NOT CONFIRMED

ADDRESS 1

649 C ST SE #APT 205
WASHINGTON, DC 20003
(202) 547-3144

ADDRESS 2:
17820 ROSECLIFF RD
CLEVELAND, OH 44119

ADDRESS 3:
358 N PARKVIEW AVE
COLUMBUS, OH 43209

Disrupt IT

city plan map

I'm speechless...  absolutely speechless...

Every day I wake up and look for a reason to stay in Cleveland. 

This isn't one of them...

 

IT GETS WORSE

these thousands of landbanks the city owns that is growing in number by the day...

word has it that Sam Wolstein wrote a blank check that "bought" him rights to any landback lot he wants in the city of Cleveland. This word came down at the Urban Growers meeting last night. I didn't go - I have a huge fricking headache that is growing by the day - but could someone plEAse tell me this is not correct? PLEAse?

C-A-R-P-E-T-B-A-G-G-E-R 

Sam Miller or Scott Wolstein?

I suspect these guys hate each other enough to go to different Country Clubs... which one may have the illegal deal with the city of Cleveland, or have they become one two headed monster?

Disrupt IT

wolstein

wolstein - sorry,

funny picture - wish i could laugh

If this is true, it will be disasterous for the growing local gardener/farm movement. do you have any idea how hard people have worked to acquire the knowledge and experience necessary and now we get sold out to a fricking developer??? How could the people who hob knob with the "important people" and are supposedly our allies  - paid to help us -do this?

seriously - watch Masked & Anonymous - we're not far away 

growing local gardener/farm movement...?

Seriously, follow the money, to the last person, to see who is supposedly "growing local gardener/farm movement" and why...!

To find out, fork over $90/99 to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens Saturday to hob nob with the important people in the "Green" movement here and learn what they know...

All part of the SII movement... same folks ruining everything.

Hopefully, Wolstein will be bankrupt before Cleveland City Council and Mayor Jackson can bail him out, refund him, and stock him up with new toxic landfills to make disaster sites. 

Disrupt IT

not quite correct

here is another version:

"that if you get a lot that's in the cities prospected development areas (tremont, ohio city, stockyards, euclid corridor, detroit shoreway and somewhere else), that you shouldn't dig too deep into the soil because when there is an economic turn-around the city will prioritize development over any green space-garden etc. And it was said that if Wolstein wants a property that your on-they're gonna get it."

 

Public Hearing re:potential uses of 2009 HUD funds

 
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  • A Public Hearing will be held to receive citizen comments on potential uses of the funding expected to be received in 2009 from the U.S, Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Development Block Grant and other related development funding programs. Participated Citizens can complete the Comment/Suggestions survey send via email. more...

I'm ASSuming this isnt one of those hearings that takes place AFTer decisions have already been made.....................

Thanks for the heads up

 
I posted this as an event.  I once attended a similar meeting during the Voinovich administration.  Mayor Voinovich got all choked up at that meeting, too.  It's a pattern.