In order to provide practitioners with evidence-based guidance in real time as they define a local response to the COVID economic crisis, May 8 and Reinvestment Fund analyzed the ability of six standard policy intervention tools to stabilize low-income and middle neighborhoods wrestling with the negative impacts of an economic shock.
The policy interventions selected for analysis are:
- Code Enforcement – System of inspections, fines and fees to enforce private property condition standards;
- Demolition – Removal of deteriorated or dangerous buildings to eliminate blighting conditions;
- Scattered Site Rehabilitation – Acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant single-family homes for sale or rental;
- Land Banks – Government agency or nonprofit established entities charged with reactivating vacant and underutilized properties and returning them to productive use;
- First Look Programs – Programs that provide local nonprofit buyers with an exclusive “first look” to purchase single-family real-estate-owned (REO) properties in the portfolios of financial institutions; and
- Emergency Bridge Loan/Soft Second Mortgage Programs – Short-term loan programs to prevent foreclosure for homeowners who are delinquent on mortgage payments.
Two local programs were evaluated under each of the six intervention categories. Findings showed some strong association between program activity and neighborhood stabilization for specific types of neighborhoods when provided at a certain scale or dosage.