April 18, 2010

Learning from Cleveland on Fighting Foreclosure

Being at the leading edge is the place to be - right? What if you're at the leading edge of the foreclosure crisis? What if the foreclosure tsunami hit your community before anyone realized that there was a tsunami? What if it hit so silently that you didn't even realize what had happened until you drove down the street after street and saw the devastation that it had left behind?

That's what happened in Cleveland. Cleveland was one of the cities on the leading edge of the wave of foreclosures that has swept across the United States. And they are still on the leading edge - this time in responding to the crisis.

Grassroots Grantmakers has just released a new publication - Fighting Foreclosure: What you can do in your neighborhood - that is designed to tap into the block-level response to foreclosures in Cleveland and help both funders and neighborhood residents in other cities get a clearer picture of the critical role that residents can (and must) play in dealing with the destabilization that foreclosures bring to neighborhoods.

Here's a quick sketch of what's included in this 8 page publication:
  • Foreclosure explained - A simple definition, with a listing of the possible outcomes of the foreclosure process.
  • The neighborhood effect of foreclosures - A short description of the destabilizing effect that foreclosures can have at the neighborhood level, illustrated by a map of foreclosures in Cleveland from 2006 to 2009.
  • What an investment in active neighborhood leaders makes sense - a piece from me on why it's important for funders - especially those who are skilled at grassroots grantmaking - to encourage and support foreclosure response at the neighborhood resident level.
  • Focus on Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood - how residents in this Cleveland neighborhood have responded to the devastating effect of foreclosures
  • Practical ideas for neighborhood groups - a list of simple but potentially powerful ways that neighborhood groups can respond to foreclosures
  • Preventing Foreclosures Neighbor to Neighbor - Proactive ways that residents and groups can help their neighbors who are facing foreclosure and get to the bottom of practices that are contributing to the foreclosure epidemic.
  • Resources available to avoid foreclosure - a list of resources available in Cleveland and nationally. The Cleveland area resources may spark some thinking about local resources in other cities.
  • A conversation with Tony Brancatelli, Cleveland City Councilman, about how grassroots groups can make a difference.

This publication is available for download on the Grassroots Grantmakers website; printed copies are available to members of Grassroots Grantmakers.

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