The City should develop a detailed action plan, designed to operate in tandem with other reinvestment processes, to successfully leverage code compliance as a strategic neighborhood reinvestment tool: • Create a robust database of all properties with a history of code violations, including information on physical housing conditions, ownership, liens, foreclosure, past code activity, and heir status. This will assist in the prioritization of eligible properties for rehabilitation. • Develop outreach materials and community liaisons to help owners gain awareness, make repairs, and navigate the process while retaining ownership. Displacement of occupants is the least favorable outcome of strategic code compliance and trusted neighborhood advocates should assist in supporting residents. The City’s strategic approach to code compliance will involve education campaigns and outreach to empower residents. Providing education around available City resources and programs and supporting community groups and neighborhood associations are necessary actions for successful neighborhood reinvestment. Ultimately, the goal is to assist residents interested in maintaining their homes and to deter slumlords and absentee property owners. • Increase Code Compliance Division staff capacity. Given the volume of code compliance calls for service in Greensboro, and the magnitude of the strategic approach recommended to reduce the city’s blight, it will be important to both: 1) provide additional staff and financial support to the division tasked with implementation, and 2) seek an external partner to assist in the implementation of this process.
Code Enforcement Partnership Cleveland, OH
Partners: Building and Housing Department, local CDCs Context: In 2008, Cleveland listed 8,009 blighted and vacant homes as public nuisances. This blight was exacerbated by the ongoing foreclosure crisis.
Approach: Given the considerable number of citywide properties to address, Cleveland’s Building and Housing Department partnered with the City’s 19 CDCs that employed code enforcers as part of CDC staff to share information and coordinate enforcement. This communication allowed the City to establish a code enforcement strategy that was responsive to community needs and complaints. By leveraging the CDCs’ daily involvement with neighborhood residents and their geographic expertise with local properties, the City was able to tailor its enforcement to properties that were priorities for the community. This direct interface also allowed for an information transfer to the CDCs about City rehabilitation programs. Thus, their counseling staff was able to better shepherd residents through these programs to prevent and resolve issues of substandard housing.