On April 21, Working In Neighborhoods released our annual study of foreclosures in Hamilton County. While the foreclosures in our community decreased by 17.5%, there were still 2,418 Hamilton County families who lost their home to foreclosure in 2013. Foreclosure numbers are improving, but the crisis is far from over. In the past 7 years, a total of 22,190 Hamilton County families lost their homes.
If a natural disaster displaced 2,418 families in Hamilton County, our community would pull together, marshall our resources, and address the problem head-on. We must respond to this crisis with the same amount of energy and creativity. We must repair the damage cause by foreclosures if our community stands a chance of moving forward.
Foreclosures in our community have hurt all of us. We have seen the median value of all properties in Hamilton County fall from a high of $135,000 in 2006 to a low of $112,000 in 2013. Last year, properties sold at Sheriff’s Sale for average of $48,000. What’s more, many of our neighborhoods are left with multiple vacant homes that decrease property values and make our communities less desirable places to live.
In 2014, how do we round this corner and recover from the foreclosure crisis? We must raise home values in our community in order to save our residents’ investments and to encourage the growth of home ownership in Hamilton County. There is an ongoing effort to demolish vacant, foreclosed homes in our community, but this approach only leaves us with vacant lots that need to be maintained.
A better solution is to return vacant homes and vacant lots to productive uses. We must renovate the vacant homes and keep our residents and our investments in Hamilton County. As public money dwindles, it is even more important for our community to raise private dollars. We know that foundations alone cannot address this need, so we need to create partnerships with every corporation and investor in our community so that we can work to repair the damage and move forward. We must call on lending institutions to inevst in renovation and stabilization projects across Hamilton County. We must also call on them to work with distressed homeowners so that the number of new foreclosures continues to decrease.
We know that Greater Cincinnati is comprised of residents and businesses who are proud and passionate about about the future of our community. We have seen over and over the generous response of our community to crisis. Now is the time to rebuild our neighborhoods and move toward a more prosperous future for all of us.
Working In Neighborhoods empowers people to make informed choices for themselves and their neighborhoods through community building, home ownership, and economic learning. During 2013, WIN staff and volunteers, working with our community partners, carried out that mission in a variety of ways. Here are some highlights of accomplishments during our 35th Anniversary Year.
- Provided energy education to nearly 600 families
- Conducted financial literacy workshops for 60 clients
- Provided Ohio Benefits Bank Assistance to 63 clients
- Trained new neighborhood leaders and provided additional training for established leaders
- Worked with the South Cumminsville Community Council and trained a core of leaders
- Worked with the South Cumminsville Action Team to recruit 184 people to work on the Beekman Street Corridor Project
- Conducted homebuyer classes for 160 clients
- Provided individual counseling to 85 people to prepare them for homeownership
- Conducted a Homebuyers Club for 22 clients
- Through WIN’s housing counseling and the Save the Dream Ohio program, saved 340 homes from foreclosure
- Started construction on 4 new units and sold 6 completed units to first-time homebuyers
- Over 400 volunteers provided nearly 2,000 hours of service for WIN’s programs
WIN’s annual study of 2013 foreclosures in Hamilton County In the Shadow of the Mortgage Meltdown: Taking Stock is now available online. This is Working In Neighborhoods’ 11th annual foreclosure report, describing trends and patterns of foreclosures in our communties. The report provides valuable information for neighborhood leaders, local governments, and others concerned about the impact of the foreclosure crisis on their neighborhoods. This year’s report provides detailed information on annual and cumulative neighborhood impacts, lender behavior, and sales trends. It also includes land use and estimated owner occupancy impacts of properties sold at Sheriff’s Sale in 2013. Read the stories from the Cincinnati Enquirer and WVXU.
Hard copies of the report are available upon request. WIN also creates community-specific reports for Cincinnati neighborhoods and Hamilton County municipalities at the request of community councils, local governments, and others. Contact Rigel Behrens at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
A lovely April evening found Working In Neighborhoods staff, supporters and friends gathered in a festive environment at WIN to celebrate “35 Years of Volunteers.” Over those years of WIN history, literally thousands of dedicated people served as volunteers to help build and repair houses, answer phones, help with neighborhood beautification, perform various office functions to assure smooth operartions and assist in innumerable other ways to further the mission of WIN.
After refreshments and a warm welcome by S. Barbara Busch and Randy Kuvin, board member Ellen Frankenberg presented the Volunteer Leadership Award to Mr. Edward Wells. Next, S. Barbara recognized the contributions of twelve individuals and 10 community groups for outrstanding and long-term service. WIN staff presented attractive and informative display board describing and illustrating the work of the Community Development, Energy Education, Homebuyer Education, Foreclosure Prevention, and Community Organizing Departments at WIN.
Click here to download WIN’s Spring 2014 Newsletter and read about our upcoming events, progress on the 35th Anniversary House, and other good things happening at Working In Neighborhoods!