RCF Connects received a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment grant that we will use to assess abandoned and foreclosed properties within the neighborhoods of Belding Woods, Coronado, Iron Triangle, Pullman and Santa Fe in Richmond, CA. Subsequent to property assessment, RCF Connects will leverage funding from the Richmond Housing Renovation Program to clean up and redevelop these properties into homes for low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers. This grant builds on previous Brownfields grants to the City of Richmond.
“Our Housing Renovation Program provides homeownership to local residents by reclaiming blighted abandoned homes,” said Jim Becker, President and CEO. “Our partnership with the EPA allows us to identify and abate hazardous building materials and other contamination present in these homes so that they are affordable and safe.”
This is not the first time we have partnered with the EPA. Properties that have benefited from the current RCF Connects/EPA partnership include:
· 355 South 15th Street
· 2801 Cutting Boulevard
· 406 B Street
· 2111 Grant Avenue
Blight homes are a real challenge and reclaiming them is a huge lift of time and resources. However, as property values in the Bay Area continue to increase, we must find ways to unlock the opportunity in these homes that lead to neighborhood stabilization and homeownership for our communities.
Abandoned homes cost cities enormous amounts of money and drain Police and Code Enforcement departments. Blighted homes drag down the collective value of surrounding homes, and attract criminal activity and hopelessness. Owning a blighted house can involve tremendous financial stress, large debts, and seemingly no good way out. Often the cost of repairing a property seems to be more expensive than it’s worth. Code Enforcement and tax liens can add to the challenges and hardship of owning blighted property. Blighted properties are also difficult to sell; tax liens and other financial issues complicate the selling process.
These homes also have a devastating effect on local neighborhoods. Blighted and vacant properties damage the fabric of a neighborhood, cost significant dollars to maintain, and erode the local tax base. Even more compelling is the fact that blight prevents private investment in neighborhoods because it undermines the value of real estate making market making market driven redevelopment unlikely. A study conducted in 2010 by City of Philadelphia showed that properties within 200 feet of a blighted property lost between 6% and 10% of their value.
A major source of lost revenue associated with blighted properties is tax delinquency. While some of these revenues may ultimately be recovered, this represents a significant amount of lost dollars. Furthermore, when blighted structures are demolished and residents leave the area, significant sales taxes and earned income taxes are lost.
The activities of Richmond Housing Renovation Program brings solutions to all these problems. Reclaiming blighted homes and transforming them into functioning and attractive homes that first-time homebuyers can acquire, raises the value of neighborhoods, revitalizes the local tax base and just makes the world a better place to live in.
Continue to follow this blog to learn more about the Richmond Housing Renovation Program and how we are “Restoring Neighborhoods” one house and one family at a time.
Richmond Housing Renovation Program
CEO, Richmod Community Foundation