Training & Educational Opportunities

Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization

Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization

While vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties have plagued communities for decades, the economic and social shocks of 2020 brought on by a global pandemic, make the need for coordination and strategic revitalization interventions even more critical.

Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization – a six-part, online education series – focuses on realizing equitable revitalization strategies. The series will equip REALTORS® with the knowledge and skills necessary to meaningfully partner with local government decision makers to address VAD properties. Each session will feature actionable items for REALTORS® and their local government partners to consider.

The series will explore why VAD properties exist and how they affect community stability; how data can guide equitable, effective, and efficient solutions; how to transition VAD properties into assets; and opportunities for building partnerships between REALTORS®, local government, and community stakeholders focused on addressing VAD properties.

Click on the session title to register for each event.

Session 1
Systemic Vacancy: Community Costs and a Pathway Forward

This session analyzed the historic policies that perpetuate vacancy and explored a framework for a systematic approach to addressing the issues.

View The Webinar
Webinar Presentation: Systemic Vacancy: Community Costs and a Pathway Forward

Session 2
Using Data to Identify Opportunities


April 20, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Austin Harrison, Research Fellow, Innovate Memphis
Danielle Lewinski, Vice President, Center for Community Progress

Data is critical for understanding local real estate market conditions and building a market-responsive revitalization strategy. When designing a strategy to address emerging challenges, help stabilize neighborhoods, fulfill a community’s goals, draw responsible investment, or foster equitable revitalization – quality data matters.

During this session participants will learn:

  • The role of data in determining market conditions and identifying problem properties
  • Where to find critical data at national and local levels
  • How to gather, analyze, and use local data to determine community challenges
  • Developing and using parcel or windshield surveys to identify problem properties and plan for future interventions

Session 3
Engaging the Community to Develop Equitable Solutions


May 18, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Developing an equitable, effective, and efficient plan to address vacant, abandoned and deteriorated (VAD) properties requires knowing the true impact these properties have on communities, and most importantly, the people that call them home. Policies developed in the absence of close collaboration with the community and those most affected by these properties are at best ineffective and at worst harmful. Determining the role of residents and other stakeholders in developing a comprehensive strategy to address VAD properties is a critical first step to identifying equitable solutions.

Session 4
Effective, Efficient, and Equitable Code Enforcement Strategies


June 15, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Broken doors, high grass, or a sagging roof are more than just visual cues of vacancy. They are health and safety concerns — and communities have the power to act in response through code enforcement. Communities should be strategic in their code enforcement efforts to ensure property compliance is achieved in an effective and efficient manner, enlist partners to help with proactive education, and center equity throughout to ensure additional hardships are not placed on vulnerable residents. 

Session 5
Land Banks: A Tool for Recovery and Stabilization


August 17, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Land banks can help resolve some of the toughest barriers that keep properties stuck in decline and assist in reestablishing property markets, stabilizing property values, and returning properties to productive use after sudden shocks or long-term decline. When operating with a strong commitment to equity, land banks can also provide new opportunities for homeowners and communities to thrive.

Session 6
Moving Forward: A Collaborative Approach to Building Equitable Communities


September 21, 2021
2:00 – 3:00 PM ET

During this session, participants will hear a moderated discussion about equitable community revitalization trends. Panelists will include industry thought leaders, practitioners, and municipal leaders.

Liz Kozub

Associate Director of National Leadership and Education

Liz Kozub serves as the Associate Director of National Leadership and Education for the Center for Community Progress.

Prior to joining Community Progress, Liz served as the Assistant Director for the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments, a multi-municipal agency focused on intergovernmental cooperation and shared services in the Mon Valley of Allegheny County, PA.  In this role, Liz managed community development and infrastructure projects through federal Community Development Block Grants, EPA Brownfield Assessment funding, and other state and local sources. She worked to establish a multi-municipal code enforcement program and oversaw the development of a data system aimed at increasing officer efficiency and effectiveness.  Liz was also a member of the leadership team to form the Tri-COG Land Bank, a multi-municipal, community driven Land Bank.

Liz received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International affairs, and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Allegheny College.

Liz is a native of Buffalo, NY, and lives in Wilmington Delaware.

Austin Harrison

Research Fellow, Innovate Memphis

Austin Harrison is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Urban Studies Institute at Georgia State University. His research interests include housing policy, neighborhood change, shrinking cities, and community development.

In addition to his Ph.D. research, Mr. Harrison is an active practitioner in the housing and neighborhood arena. Through his own consulting firm, he has worked with nonprofits, local governments, and private developers across the country to implement programs and policies aimed at inclusively revitalizing neighborhoods, developing quality affordable housing, and stabilizing systemically disinvested communities.

He also is a Research Fellow for Innovate Memphis, a local open data intermediary in Memphis, Tennessee focused on applied data analysis and policy research to drive advocacy for neighborhood and housing concerns such as evictions, abandoned property, and local market dynamics.

Austin holds a B.A. in History from Mercer University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Memphis.

Danielle Lewinski

Vice President, Center for Community Progress

Danielle Lewinski serves as Vice President at the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.”

Before joining Community Progress, Lewinski served a number of nonprofit organizations in Michigan specifically helping them to understand and assess vacant properties and develop strategies and tools to foster neighborhood revitalization.

Serving as Director of Planning and Technical Programs for Michigan Community Resources, she created and executed the planning and technical assistance offerings of the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign. Through this work, she directed vacant property strategy development, data analysis, and mapping services, ran a vacant property mini-grant program, initiated an unprecedented city-wide parcel survey, and acted as a primary liaison between the civic engagement and technical teams for Detroit Future City, the strategic framework for the city of Detroit. Prior to her work at MCR, Lewinski also supported community development work in Detroit, MI through Focus: HOPE and Pontiac, MI through Lighthouse Community Development.

Lewinski earned a Master of Urban Planning degree and a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in African and African American Studies from Mount Holyoke College.

She is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council and earned an Executive Scholar Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.