High foreclosure rates and blighted, vacant properties can provide a revitalization and intervention opportunity on a more targeted basis. Acquisition and rehabilitation efforts can substantially improve these targeted areas where foreclosures and vacant properties have magnified existing physical and social blight issues. These areas share many common traits, including:
- Poorly maintained properties;
- Prevalence of investor-owned residential properties;
- Heightened police and code enforcement activity; and
- Declining property values.
Building off the success of past and current efforts at Fruitridge Vista and Lerwick Road in the County and at Phoenix Park in the City, SHRA crafted a Block Acquisition/Rehabilitation Program under NSP-1 to help address some of the blighted conditions in specific targeted areas. This program has proven to be successful, with properties acquired in two target streets in the County.
The Block Acquisition Program promotes the acquisition, and rehabilitation (or demolition and redevelopment) of vacant and foreclosed properties. End uses may include development of rental or for-sale housing, land banking for future redevelopment activities or development of mixed used projects.
Transformation depends not only on removing the physical blight, but also in stabilizing and securing the neighborhood; therefore, the program must be complemented by additional City and County efforts, including coordination of police and code enforcement efforts to reduce crime and nuisance activities and investment in public infrastructure. While the end uses may vary, the commonalities in the Block Acquisition Program focus on redevelopment and revitalization of areas with significant blighting conditions.
For private developers, the program will provide low-interest loans to developers who are able to demonstrate capacity to acquire at least 50 percent of the properties in one of these areas and make a significant investment for change in the area. Funds will be used to provide stable, affordable and safe housing units accompanied by strong property management as a vital component of this Program. Income targeting will contribute to the NSP requirement of 25 percent expenditure to very low income (50% AMI) households.