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with nonprofits are helping America's neighborhoods plant the seeds
Collaborative alliances for a fruitful future. B
lighted neighborhoods have been part of America's story from the beginning. We generally tolerate them—and presume someone is doing something to address the problem and its root causes. But with the recent foreclosure crisis, the damage has metastasized to neighborhoods previously untouched. Now none of us can ignore it.
that affected a few unfortunate homeowners and their lenders. When the problem reaches the stratospheric levels of recent years, it's no longer private. Whole communities have a stake in reversing the trend. The housing bust hit many neighborhoods with a one- two punch: First, prices were depressed by the lack of demand; then the proliferation of REOs pushed them down even further. Vacant homes with their attendant
Foreclosure was once a private tragedy
problems became a symbol of the economic malaise gripping the nation. There were few viable buyers, and the free market, which solves so many problems on its own, simply wasn't working in the worst cases. Fortunately, there was a quiet army of nonprofit organizations already attacking
these issues and public programs that helped facilitate their efforts. Innovative strategies have also brought in mortgage servicers and field service providers as partners. And in the best examples, the results are positive for investors, communities, and new homeowners.
Working the Grassroots Ascala Sisk is senior manager
of neighborhood stabilization at NeighborWorks America, an organization devoted to affordable housing and community development. She recently initiated a Neighborhood Marketing Program with some of NeighborWorks' 240 partners. "We identified competitively 16 organizations within our network that were already making significant investments around community