Investment of foreclosure recovery funds helping revitalize distressed communities

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak along with City partners and elected officials celebrated the completion of the first phase of investment of $14 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The funds have been used to acquire foreclosed properties for rehabilitation or future redevelopment, and to offer down-payment and closing-cost assistance to low- and moderate-income buyers of foreclosed homes.

The event was held at the home of Bruce Murray at 2202 James Ave. N. in the Cottage Park section of the Jordan neighborhood of North Minneapolis. A new homeowner, Mr. Murray recently purchased this property which was the first home completely rehabbed with NSP1 funds and sold to a homeowner.

With the $14 million in NSP1 funds, which have now been fully committed, 275 properties in Minneapolis neighborhoods heavily affected by the foreclosure crisis have been acquired or rehabbed. These funds have also generated 15,000 hours of contracted labor, of which 52 percent of skilled labor was performed by people of color, 87 percent of unskilled labor was performed by people of color, 28 percent was performed by low-income workers and nine percent was performed by women.

New homeowner Bruce Murray, who works in the community as engagement coordinator for the Northside Achievement Zone lived in Brooklyn Center for the last five years. He decided to move back into North Minneapolis when he saw the quality of the NSP1-funded rehab work by developer Urban Homeworks, Inc. The City of Minneapolis partners with non-profit community developers to help rebuild neighborhoods affected by foreclosure.

In addition to Urban Homeworks, the City partners with Alliance Housing, City of Lakes Community Land Trust, Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation, NH Housing, Neighborhood Housing Services of Minneapolis, Powderhorn Residents Group, Project for Pride in Living and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

The $14 million in NSP1 funding came from the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008: $5.6 million as a direct allocation to Minneapolis and $8.4 million competitively awarded to the City through a State of Minnesota allocation. The City will now begin phase 2 of Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP2) funding in Minneapolis.

In 2009, the City received $15.5 million through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a part of a joint application with Brooklyn Park and Hennepin County. NSP2 is planned to affect 300 more foreclosed properties through acquisition, rehabilitation and redevelopment. NSP2 will also provide homeownership incentives and financing for down payments and closing costs. 

Earlier this month, the City announced it will be receiving an additional $2.7 million in a third round of NSP funding, authorized under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The City Council will be asked to approve the phase 3 spending plan in early 2011.

Published Sep 21, 2010