Vacant Property Campaigns: Resources

Information | Resources | Best Practice Models

Michigan Vacant Property Campaign

The Michigan Vacant Property Campaign (MVPC) is a collaborative project of the Center for Community Progress, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Michigan Municipal League and Michigan Community Resources. The mission of the Michigan Vacant Property Campaign (MVPC) is to serve as a statewide resource for addressing the rising stock of vacant properties so that communities can rebuild their social, physical and economic fabric.

The MVPC fulfills its mission by:

  • Connecting stakeholders between sectors, within localities and across the state;
  • Equipping local leaders with effective resources and campaign formation strategies; and
  •  Facilitating coordinated advocacy and the exchange of best practices and innovative solutions to common land use challenges between localities.

General services provided by the MVPC include:

  • Education and Outreach: MVPC hosts regional roundtables around the state, and connects stakeholders to data, reports and community toolkits.
  • Assistance: MVPC draws on the expertise of our partners to provide technical assistance tailored to the unique challenges and goals of communities throughout the state.
  • Local Campaign Formation: MVPC provides comprehensive and intensive support to form vacant property campaigns in qualifying local communities.

Detroit: Detroit Vacant Property Campaign

Michigan Community Resources (formerly Community Legal Resources) has led a collaborative initiative called the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign (DVPC) that empowers communities and organizations to turn vacant properties into assets through community engagement and technical assistance. DVPC is a collaborative initiative, involving community groups, neighborhood associations, city residents, faith-based organizations, Detroit LISC the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Community Development Advocates of Detroit, and the City of Detroit.

Through the development of vacant property plans in Detroit neighborhoods, the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign has identified a number of goals to address the issue of vacant housing and strategies for accomplishing those goals. These goals include:

  • Educating homebuyers and homeowners about mortgage, property tax, and foreclosure processes to keep homeowners in their homes and avoid additional vacancies;
  • Developing a well-organized Vacant Property Strategy which includes inventory and assessment of vacant homes;
  • Determining property ownership in order to hold owners accountable for the condition of their properties;
  • Preventing damage to vacant properties to retain home values;
  • Obtaining control of vacant properties for access to make repairs and market;
  • Getting vacant properties reoccupied;
  • Demolishing vacant properties to protect home values
  • Managing vacant lots;
  • Building neighborhood capacity; and
  • Retaining residents.

In addition to developing written resource guides to assist residents, neighborhood and community associations, and community development corporations in addressing local vacant properties, Michigan Community Resources offers an array of services to local residents, neighborhood and community organizations, and community development corporations. Assistance starts with a variety of educational and community outreach services. Other forms of outreach and education include hosting brown bags and other events on specific topics, such as finding property ownership or working with the Detroit Land Bank. The second level of assistance provided to residents, neighborhood and community organizations, and community development corporations includes research on property ownership, nuisance abatement strategies, and specific legal questions.

Michigan Community Resources also provides hands-on assistance to select neighborhood associations and community development corporations to develop full-blown vacant property campaigns. Such campaigns begin with assessing the current state of affairs and mapping a neighborhood’s property conditions, property ownership, and vacant property. The campaigns develop strategies and priorities to tackle these conditions.  MCR also assists in the development of specific strategies to tackle community problems.

Finally, MCR’s management of the Detroit Vacant Property Campaign includes the development of policy and systems to impact vacant property on a citywide basis. Working with its partner the City of Detroit, MCR has helped develop a vacant property registration ordinance and has worked to pioneer nuisance abatement legal strategies for community organizations and residents to pursue persistent vacant problem properties.

An excellent overview of these various strategies and intervention can be found in the Detroit Vacant Property Toolkit, 2nd Edition (pdf).

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