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Author(s)/Creator(s): Karen Edwards, Peter Morris, Sharon RedThunder
While the United States faces one of the most significant housing crises in the nation's history, many forget that Indian housing has been in crisis for generations. This report seeks to take some important steps toward a future where safe, affordable, and decent housing is available to Native people in numbers sufficient to meet the housing needs that exist in Indian country today. This study provides first-of-its-kind analysis of a critical barrier to homeownership on Indian lands. It analyzes the success of tribes that have taken responsibility (in whole or in part) for administering the land title process on tribal lands. It also addresses the challenges those tribes have faced. Section 1 outlines the significant obstacles to homeownership strategies for Native communities. In Section 2, the report delves into the experiences of five tribes that are managing aspects of the land title process in their communities. In Section 3, the report details findings from a site visit and in-depth interview at the Bureau of Indian Affairs regional offices in Portland, Oregon and Aberdeen, South Dakota. Finally, Section 4 of the report draws conclusions and makes specific recommendations about the future of land title processing on Indian lands. This report is the culmination of two years of research funded by NeighborWorks America and Stewart Title Company.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Anne B. Gass
This is a case study of the first resident-owned community created outside of New Hampshire under the guidance of the ROC USA system, and featuring PathStone, a member of the NeighborWorks Network and a certified technical assistance provider (CTAP) for ROC USA.

Read this guide to learn how community development organizations can"go green" through NeighborWorks Green Course curriculum. The guide includes information on education and skills training in healthy homes and green construction,and launching a Green Certificate program to train practitioners in successful strategies for green building and sustainable design.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Terry Galpin-Plattner
In the past, anecdotal evidence has suggested that resident services in affordable family housing help reduce operational costs. This is the third study to support and validate that anecdotal evidence with concrete data. The study found that resident services reduce operational costs related to vacancy loss, bad debt and legal fees.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Terry Galpin-Plattner
In 2008, Community Housing Partners (CHP), with funding and research support from NeighborWorks America, engaged in a study to better understand the financial impact of resident services on property performance in service-enriched affordable family rental housing. Examining data from FY 2006 and 2007, this study finds that operational costs relating to vacancy loss, bad debt and legal expenses were significantly lower at properties with resident services than at those without resident services. In addition to these findings, the report offers opportunities for future replication, development of best practices and recommendations for next steps.

Annual report of NeighborWorks America's Community Building and Organizing Initiative.

How do you reach the people at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure -- before it's too late? Too many homeowners don't reach out for help soon enough. Whether due to fear, embarrassment, or lack of knowledge about the alternatives, delay can make the difference between renegotiating a mortgage on workable terms, or losing a home. The following case studies, focusing on outreach to niche communities, provide organizations with new tools and strategies. Each case study describes a real organization addressing the real challenges of reaching various constituencies they serve. Each includes a summary of lessons learned and who to contact for more information.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Daniel Fleischman
Real estate owned (REO) housing resulting from the recent foreclosure crisis threatens to destabilize low- and moderate-income neighborhoods across the country. Nonprofit organiza-tions seeking to redevelop these properties into affordable housing face weak market condi-tions and operate with limited resources and capacity. This study presents a framework through which nonprofits can analyze REO redevelopment opportunities for 1- to 4-unit properties within their communities. The paper specifies the conditions necessary for REO redevelopment and discusses how local market conditions, the geographic distribution and the physical characteristics of REOs, their ownership and legal status, internal organizational capacity, and public policies each affect nonprofit efforts to acquire, rehabilitate, sell and rent REO properties. Finally, this paper considers the unique difficulties of the current situation relative to past vacant-housing scenarios and concludes that many nonprofits may wish to pursue alternative, non-redevelopment strategies.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Eric Hangen
In 2003, building-related construction and demolition (C&D) debris totaled more than 164 million tons a year, up from 136 million tons a year in 1993.1 The largest share of this debris comes from building demolitions (53%), followed by building remodeling and renovation (38%) and finally construction (9%).2 Together, it comprises nearly 40 percent of the combined C&D and municipal solid waste stream.3 Landfilling this material incurs a significant economic cost. In 2004, the national average landfill tipping fee was $35 per ton,4 putting the national bill for landfilling construction and demolition debris at something on the order of $5.7 billion. Moreover, landfilling this debris also generates a considerable environmental cost. Landfill space is used up and fossil fuels are expended to transport and store debris; fossil fuels are used, natural resources depleted, and toxins generated in the production and transport of replacement materials. An environmental cost calculator prepared by the Deconstruction Institute and the University of Florida provides some examples:5 Some 33 million tons of wood-related construction and demolition debris are buried each year in the US, releasing about 5 million tons of carbon equivalent in the form of methane gas. These greenhouse gas emissions are equivalent to the annual emissions of 3.7 million cars. The average (2,000 square foot) American home, if demolished, would produce 10,000 cubic feet of debris. Recycling the steel and plastics in it would save almost 3,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. Salvaging the wood could yield 6,000 board feet of reusable lumber - equivalent to saving 33 mature trees. The building materials in the average American home contain about 892 million Btu of embodied energy -- the total amount of energy used to produce, transport and assemble the materials into a home. This amount is equivalent to 7,826 gallons of gasoline. Reusing or recycling these materials would recapture much of this embodied energy rather than wasting it. One year of construction and demolition debris is enough to build a wall 30 feet high and 30 feet thick around the entire coast of the continental United States (4,993 miles long). Lastly, landfilling this debris represents an opportunity cost for the many people and organizations that could have used the materials if they had been salvaged.

Author(s)/Creator(s): Anne Gass
In the midst of all the foreclosures sweeping the country, and the turmoil on Wall Street, nonprofit housing organizations are quietly going about the work of stabilizing communities hard hit by the crisis. Most have had frontline responsibility for counseling families threatened with foreclosure. With their assistance tens of thousands of families have restructured their budgets, negotiated with servicers to modify their loans, and saved their homes. Other families, too far along in the foreclosure process to stop it from happening, have received help transitioning to new housing arrangements. While the work with distressed homeowners must continue, nonprofits are feeling increased pressure to deal with the growing foreclosed housing stock. These units are causing incalculable harm to neighborhoods, and any hope of housing recovery must ensure that these units are swiftly put back into productive use or demolished. This collection of 14 case studies outlines strategies that nonprofit organizations across the country are using to begin the process of repairing damaged communities. The stakes are enormous. Vacant housing invites vandalism, and becomes a hub for gangs and crime. Virtually all case study subjects reported that, within weeks of housing becoming vacant, thieves break into the units and strip them of their valuable copper plumbing and wiring, heedless of any destruction they leave in their wake. In Phoenix a half-finished, abandoned subdivision was used as an informal "Home Depot" as other homeowners broke in and helped themselves to fixtures and appliances. In Cleveland, vandals remove not just the copper but the aluminum siding from vacant houses. In photos these houses have a desolate, post-disaster look, like the aftermath of a hurricane. When units get demolished the vacant lots soon sprout grass and trash, adding to the community's forlorn appearance. Vacant, deteriorated units place a downward pressure on housing values that puts nearby neighbors in a bind. In order to sell their units they will have to reduce the price, as no one will pay top dollar to live in a blighted neighborhood. Yet their ability to refinance into a more affordable mortgage may be compromised by the drop in property values; in some cases this leads to additional foreclosures and the downward cycle continues. Intervening in these troubled neighborhoods is challenging. In some markets housing prices are still falling, making it hard to determine the value of the units. Bank asset managers and servicers often lack detailed knowledge of the markets, or even of the units they have in their own inventory. This leads them to overvalue their properties and hold out for more than they are worth, delaying the process of acquiring and renovating them for resale to new homebuyers. Finally, the complex ownership structure of mortgages which were rolled into collateralized debt obligations and other investment vehicles makes it very difficult to establish who owns properties and who has authority to negotiate their sale.08

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