America’s neighborhoods in crisis

The problem with letting foreclosures stay vacant

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Empty properties add no "life" to a neighborhood. A significant number of vacant homes in a neighborhood attract crime and drive down the price of adjoining homes. They have no residents to support local businesses and government; they require more public safety dollars and community resources; and they make neighbors feel uneasy and unsafe. Most importantly, they drive down home prices for the entire neighborhood, igniting more forced sales and foreclosures. Once blight reaches a certain level, it's very difficult to turn around. Vacant homes aren't maintained as well as owner-occupied homes. In fact, a home is often poorly maintained in the year before foreclosure. The grass may not have been watered or cut; the sidewalks may not be cleared of leaves and snow; the paint may be peeling; and the windows may be broken. How are foreclosures damaging neighborhoods? According to the Denver-based Committee for Stabilizing America's Neighborhoods, the best neighborhood...