Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guest Blogger Ali Solis: Saving and Stabilizing America's Neighborhoods

Enterprise has been working for decades to build high quality and stable neighborhoods and now, in this foreclosure crisis, we must save America’s neighborhoods. Our role in solving the economic crisis is to stabilize communities and design solutions to ensure that this never happens again.

This “back-end” foreclosure solution is what motivated us to successfully lobby for the $4 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

Though $4 billion sounds enormous, when split between 300 localities, it is not enough. We need more NSP funds in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Obama “Stimulus”). Additional funding, in combination with some regulatory changes, will be a powerful tool in stabilizing neighborhoods.

Because we are interested in how localities plan to spend their first round of allocations, Enterprise is analyzing all 300 NSP action plans using metrics such as “number of homes rehabilitated” and “use of a green building standard.” This analysis will allow us to develop a set of best practices which will be helpful when/if additional NSP funds are made available.

We are also developing a narrative analysis for 78 localities – mostly focused on large cities and where Enterprise has a presence - that includes more detailed descriptions of program activities and how funds are being leveraged.

In the end, we will have a holistic understanding of how localities will use NSP funds, and we will share widely through publication. Such knowledge will help guide future decisions regarding program design, funding, and targeting.

As vice president of public policy and industry relations at Enterprise Community Partners, Ali Solis fosters relationships with key administration officials, Congressional, state and local policy stakeholders and national industry partners. In this capacity, she develops and advocates policies and programs that advance the development of affordable housing and sustainable communities. Enterprise Community Partners is a national nonprofit provider of development capital and expertise for creating decent, affordable homes and rebuilding communities. For 25 years, Enterprise has pioneered neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with community organizations, financial institutions and other public and private agencies and institutions.

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