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Making Vacant Spaces Safe Places


									Making Vacant Spaces Safe Places
Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference Pittsburgh, PA September 25, 2007

LISC Community Safety Initiative
Objective: To promote strategic alliances between community developers and law enforcement to reduce crime and spur revitalization in troubled neighborhoods. Services:  Technical assistance/training  Knowledge-sharing  Financial assistance  National advocacy

Patricia Garcia Duarte, Executive Director
Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Sheila Jackson, Clean & Safe Program Director
Jefferson East Business Association

Connie Stine, Police Officer
Phoenix Police Department

Topics for today’s session
      Links between vacant properties and crime Carrots and sticks for working with owners Temporary mitigation strategies Engaging residents and youth Partnerships with police and other stakeholders Policy tools and communications systems

Link between vacant properties and crime
 Linked to health & safety concerns:
– Breeding place for vermin

 Linked to crime problems:
– – – – – Vandalism Breaking & entering for criminal activities Illegal dumping Nuisance, community eye sore Graffiti

There’s No Place Like A Home Phoenix, Arizona

• NHS Phoenix is dedicated to the revitalization of Phoenix neighborhoods through programs and services that encourage, create and promote homeownership. • The Garfield neighborhood is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix; It is the oldest historic neighborhood still in existence; developed in the late 1800’s.

Phoenix: Vacant Lot

Phoenix: Vacant Lot

Phoenix: Vacant Lot

Jefferson East Business Association
 Located in Wayne County, Michigan on the lower east side of Detroit  50% vacancy rate on and around the commercial district until a few years ago  JEBA Clean & Safe Program seeks to mobilize business owners and other stakeholders to improve the district and surrounding area

Vanity Ballroom – Jefferson Avenue, Detroit MI

Foresite Building – Jefferson Avenue, Detroit MI

Working with owners: Detroit
 JEBA, in cooperation with the City of Detroit’s Office of Neighborhood Commercial Redevelopment (ONCR), works to improve building facades.  With funding from LISC, JEBA administers a predevelopment fund that has led to the redevelopment of Winston Place, a 169 unit apartment complex and several other structures.

Monticello Ballroom – Prior to Façade Program

Monticello Ballroom – JEBA Façade Program at Work

S & Y Building – Jefferson Avenue, Detroit MI
Prior to Façade Work

JEBA Façade Program at Work

JEBA Façade Program at Work

JEBA Predevelopment Program – Winston Place
Currently Under Construction

JEBA Predevelopment Program – Winston Place

Working with owners: Phoenix
NHS Phoenix met with existing neighborhood homeowners:
 to understand their view of community problems;  to encourage an holistic approach; and  to collaboratively seek solutions.

What evolved was a combination of:

 developing resident leaders who could take on the challenge of engaging fellow citizen activists;  designing homes on vacant lots that were in keeping with the historic nature of the community;  establishing neighborhood “block watch” groups and communication tools to share ideas and be the “eyes and ears” of the community;  empowering homeowners to clean-up and fix-up deteriorating properties.

Temporary crime mitigation strategies
Target hardening approaches vs. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Moving safe activities into unsafe places Presenting a clean and protected image Creating natural surveillance opportunities

Fox Creek Park – Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, MI

Improving Vacant Lots – Jefferson Avenue

Roles for police in redevelopment solutions
 Training the community on how to solve their own problems through knowledge of available resources such as the Neighborhood Fightback Program developed in the 80s.  Enforcement of city codes and criminal nuisance laws to address undesirable activity.  Making arrests, closing drug houses and increasing police presence all act as deterrents to criminal activity.  Bringing programs such as “Say No to Drugs” to the neighborhood schools.

Other key partners
Key partners included:  NeighborWorks® America  The City of Phoenix Housing Department, Neighborhood Services Department, Public Works and Water Departments and Redevelopment Authority  The City of Phoenix Redevelopment Authority and Compliance Team The Community Prosecutor for Code Enforcement  The Local Initiatives Support Corporation  The Arizona State Housing Trust Fund  The Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program  The Garfield Organization

Other key partners
 With funding from LISC and in partnership with Detroit Department of Water and Sewerage, JEBA transformed a blighted lot into a 1 acre community park.  JEBA also partners with numerous volunteer groups such as Summer in the City, Operation Get Down and Wolverine Service group to improve the physical appearance of the East Jefferson District.

DWS Storage Yard – Jefferson Avenue, Detroit MI

Policy tools and communications structures
These included:  the assignment of dedicated community officers to regularly attend neighborhood meetings and build relationships of trust with residents;  the creation of Neighborhood newsletters and bulletin boards to highlight issues, share best practices and communicate ideas across the community

 Vacant land was obtained;  New quality homes were built;  A loan portfolio accrued that provided assistance to low-tomoderate income families;  New homeowners were educated to be sustainable;

 The neighborhood organization increased capacity-building

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix: First home built - 1992

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix

Neighborhood Housing Services of Phoenix Newest Floor Plan - 2006

Impacts: Phoenix
• • • • • • • During the 1990s, the poverty rate for Garfield census tracts declined from 46% to 40% and the housing vacancy rates declined from 18% to 8%; Homeownership rates increased from 29% in 1990 to 32% in 2000; Total mortgage investment increased 10-fold between 1995 and 2004 from $1.1 million to $24.6 million; In 1995 Garfield accounted for $.39 of every $1,000 of mortgage investment in the metro area; in 2004, it accounted for $.93, an increase of 140%; The number of mortgages for home purchase increased from 11 in 1995 to 58 in 2004; Median mortgage amounts increased from $37,000 (41% of metro median) to $87,000 ( 66% of metro median) between 1995 and 2004. Based on census data, 47% of all the newly constructed homes in the neighborhood in the 1990s were built due to the work of NHS Phoenix, representing over $4 million in investment in the area.

Further information about the LISC Community Safety Initiative is available at
Thank You to Our Sponsors:

US Department of Justice Community Capacity Development Office

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