Today’s struggling neighborhoods—challenged by systemic vacancy and disinvestment, concentrated poverty, weak housing markets, and racially disparate outcomes—are the lasting legacy of our unjust past. These neighborhoods are often plagued by vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties which are more than just eyesores; VAD properties have severe negative impacts, including economic, social, psychological, physical, and environmental, on neighborhoods and the people living in them. As research and reporting have made clear, the health risks of COVID-19 are again falling hardest on these same communities, and the housing challenges are likely to worsen in the coming decade as a result of the economic fallout of this global pandemic.
Developing a comprehensive, community-driven approach to address the negative impacts of VAD properties requires the coordinated efforts of a wide range of public, private, and community stakeholders. Local governments, REALTORS®, nonprofits, philanthropy, residents, anchor institutions, the private sector, and others all have roles to play in addressing these impacts and in developing more equitable and effective strategies to revitalize communities. It is critical for these stakeholders to come together, develop an understanding of the problems facing their communities, and begin to cultivate shared goals and priorities that are responsive to the needs of the community.
Through Transforming Neighborhoods, the National Association of REALTORS® is pleased to collaborate with the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress) to offer educational and technical assessment opportunities to communities across the U.S. to understand and assess systems and policies to more effectively address the challenges and costs imposed by vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties with a focus on equity, inclusion, and resiliency.
About our Partner
The mission of Center for Community Progress is to foster strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Founded in 2010, Community Progress is the leading national, nonprofit resource for urban, suburban, and rural communities seeking to address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization fulfills its mission by nurturing strong leadership and supporting systemic reforms. Community Progress works to ensure that public, private, and community leaders have the knowledge, capacity, policies, tools, and resources they need to support the equitable reuse of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties.
About the Services
Education & Training
National experts will help stakeholders in your community build a common awareness of the problems associated with VAD properties, understand the imperative to center racial equity, and reach consensus on the roles each can play in a comprehensive approach. When REALTORS® learn and develop skills alongside other stakeholders, experience and knowledge are shared and can support effective, equitable revitalization strategies.
Preliminary Technical Assessment
A preliminary assessment helps communities identify underlying factors that keep problem properties “stuck” in decline and provides an understanding of the existing tools or opportunities to build a broader coalition of stakeholders that incorporates and centers the voices of community members most impacted by problem properties, in order to strengthen revitalization efforts. Select communities will have the opportunity for a team of technical experts to conduct a preliminary assessment of existing policies, processes, partnerships, and tools in place for addressing VAD properties, and to share observations and recommendations on how to build a more equitable, effective, and efficient approach to vacancy and abandonment. While each engagement is tailored to the needs identified by each applicant, it is important to note three critical points:
- Each engagement requires the active participation and support of local governmental staff and officials;
- Each engagement must demonstrate the applicants’ ability and willingness to incorporate the voices of those most impacted by problem properties into the assessment and efforts to move this work forward in the future; and
- Observations and recommendations offered will be based on Community Progress’ own independent assessment of what it perceives is needed given the unique challenges facing the particular community.
Application Requirements and Selection Process
Webinar Series: Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization
This six-part, online education series focused on realizing equitable revitalization strategies. The series provided REALTORS® with the knowledge and skills necessary to meaningfully partner with local government decision makers to address VAD properties. Each session featured actionable items for REALTORS® and their local government partners to consider.
Session 1 Systemic Vacancy: Community Costs and a Pathway Forward
Session 2: Using Data to Identify Opportunities
Session 3: Engaging the Community to Develop Equitable Solutions
Session 4: Effective, Efficient, and Equitable Code Enforcement Strategies
Session 5: Land Banks: A Tool for Recovery and Stabilization
Session 6: A Collaborative Approach to Building Communities through Arts and Culture
Webinar Series: Stabilizing and Revitalizing Neighborhoods in the COVID-19 Era
This four-part webinar series examined how REALTOR® Associations can prepare for the critical role they will play with assisting local governments with their COVID-19 neighborhood stabilization and recovery strategies.
Transforming Neighborhoods – Program Overview
This webinar provides an overview of the Transforming Neighborhoods program and highlights past participants who share their experiences and best practices.
- Central Missouri Board of REALTORS® and the City of Marshall, MO
- Success Story: Central Missouri Board of REALTORS® Uses Transforming Neighborhoods Technical Assessment to Address Vacant and Abandoned Properties
This was the most significant, meaningful and successful activity in the most important role that we fulfill as a REALTOR® association in over 23 years that I have been a member.Bob Bustamante, Associate Broker, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
By far the most impactful part of the session (for me) was getting REALTORS®, government officials, community leaders, profit and non-profit organizations ALL in one room learning together with a united goal of collaborating to revitalize our communities.Adrienne Abe Wagner, RAWIM Governance Chair