slavic village cdc acquires, sells bank-owned homes

When TV crews descended on Slavic Village three years ago, the neighborhood was dubbed the "epicenter" of the foreclosure crisis. While that infamy was brief -- the crisis soon expanded to other parts of the country, with California, Florida and Nevada among the hardest hit -- the damage it left behind was real.

However, this resilient neighborhood is now becoming known for its innovative response to foreclosures. Through its Neighbors Invest in Broadway program, Slavic Village has been acquiring vacant, bank-owned homes and selling them to qualified rehabbers.

"After the housing market collapsed, we began to look at how we could rebuild our neighborhood," explains Marie Kittredge, Executive Director of Slavic Village Development (SVD), the nonprofit community group that serves the neighborhood.

Since launching the program, SVD has acquired 28 homes and sold 17. Eight of these homes were sold to owner-occupants. "When we launched the program, we were selling most of the homes to investors," says Kittredge. "But recently we've had more owner-occupants."

Purchasers, who must demonstrate the financial ability to bring the properties up to code, obtain the homes for $5,000. Such bank-owned properties are often stripped of plumbing and need major repairs. Due to the investment required to repair them, and because supply outstrips demand, they often hold little value. Lenders have been willing to donate the properties to SVD or the city of Cleveland.

After acquiring the property, SVD issues a Request for Proposals. It then selects the most qualified proposal, giving preference to owner-occupants. After selling the home, SVD follows up to ensure the work is completed according to the specifications.

"We want to make sure the home is decent, but it doesn't need a new Jacuzzi or kitchen," explains Kittredge. "We'll work with the owner throughout the process."

Source: Marie Kittredge
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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