In 2010, the City of Baltimore kicked off the Vacants to Value (V2V) program, a multifaceted strategy to use code enforcement and related tools to reduce the number of vacant properties in the city and put them back into productive use. In 2015, after the program had been underway for five years, the City of Baltimore commissioned the Center for Community Progress, in partnership with the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI) and the Schaefer Center of the University of Baltimore, to conduct an evaluation of the City’s Vacants to Value (V2V) program, and make recommendations for future program directions.
What Happened in Baltimore and What Can We Do? A Neighborhood’s Perspective offers a clear set of data-driven objectives for community organizations, non-profits, elected officials and all stakeholders to work together to eliminate disparities in neighborhoods. This report represents the synthesis of several years of work by the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance-Jacob France Institute (BNIA-JFI) and points to 3 key goals that could serve as a common agenda to improve quality of life in every neighborhood.
In June 2013, National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) launched a cross-site project supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF) to build the capacity of local NNIP partners for working with organizations and agencies running integrated data systems (IDS) in order to expand the use of IDS to support better neighborhood-focused policymaking and program development. Address-level property records from BNIA-JFI, including data on foreclosure filings, was linked to a database of WAP applicants and recipients from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. In addition to BNIA-JFI’s property records, the Jacob France Institute’s (JFI) IDS on wage records and social assistance was linked to the database of WAP applicants and recipients using various linking methods. JFI maintains individual-level, longitudinal data from the Maryland Departments of Labor, Licensing and Regulations, Human Resources, and Education.
The Family League’s 2014 Community Needs Assessment examines key data points and the issues facing Baltimore’s children in the areas of education, health, hunger and criminal justice. This assessment is required by Maryland state law of every Maryland Local Management Board and is used as a part of the Family League’s planning process.
BNIA-JFI linked participants in the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a program of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (Coalition) working to improve housing for children living in economically challenged communities, to various dataset including foreclosure, housing violations and home sales. BNIA-JFI found that the program tends to operate in low-to-moderate income neighborhood markets and does improve the housing stability for program participants. Overall, the GHHI program may have the greatest impact on helping to stabilize neighborhoods through 1) reducing potential home foreclosures and vacant housing notices and 2) increasing the further rehabilitation investment by homeowners.
“The Lines Between Us” was a year-long multimedia series by WYPR’s Maryland Morning about inequality in the Baltimore region that aired from September 28, 2012 to October 4, 2013. Seema Iyer served on the advisory committee for the series and BNIA-JFI provided interactive mapping and data support as supplemental material for the series available online at http://www.linesbetweenus.org/seeing-inequality. The series was one of 14 winners of the 2014 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award, among several local honors.
Since 2007, the foreclosure crisis in the United States has continued to affect families and children across the United States. While most of the research on foreclosures has focused on the impact on the housing market, the loss of the home, the decline in property values and a loss of wealth, little research has examined the impact of foreclosures on children. Research conducted in Baltimore City found that in the 2008-09 school year, 2.7 percent of public school children are affected by foreclosure while research in New York City found two percent of public school children are affected by foreclosure and research in Washington, D.C. found 2.2 percent of public school children are affected by foreclosure (Been et al., 2010; Comey and Grosz, 2010; Kachura, 2011).
The first phase of this research identified the number of students affected by foreclosure, provided information on their demographic characteristics, neighborhoods, schools, and housing characteristics (see Kachura, 2011). This brief, the second in a series about Baltimore City, focuses on whether foreclosures result in public school students moving homes, switching schools and the conditions in both the neighborhoods and schools before and after the move. There is significant literature and research that suggests residential mobility and changing schools has a negative impact on children and this brief relates these disruptive forces to the foreclosure crisis in Baltimore City.
Download BNIA-JFI’s Phase 1 Full Report
Download BNIA-JFI’s Phase 2 Full Report
Authors: Jennifer Comey, Sophie Litschwartz, and Kathryn L.S. Pettit
How has the recession and its resulting family instability impacted children’s residential and school mobility? Officials from housing, homeless, and school programs discussed the full spectrum of residential mobility in two recent Urban Institute roundtables: from chronic mobility, eviction, and foreclosure to doubled-up households and homelessness. Attendees explored programs and policies to reduce residential and student mobility, as well as brainstormed new ways for different organizations to work together. The discussion centered on examples of school districts, government agencies, and nonprofit housing counseling agencies working together to mitigate the negative effects of mobility.
BNIA-JFI and Marsha Schachtel of the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies created a human needs assessment for Frederick County Maryland. This assessment was created for the Community Foundation of Frederick County and will be used to expand the Community Foundation’s strategic grant making to ensure maximum impact and create benchmarks to assess progress over the next 10 years. This human needs assessment combines research and data with input from service providers, stakeholders, community leaders, and others to determine the areas of need that are most pressing. The human needs assessment covers all areas of human services within Frederick County but pays particular attention to the Community Foundation’s core priority areas: health, youth, and basic human needs including housing and jobs. The report identifies key components in the Community Foundation’s three target areas that can be addressed with strategic funding, collaboration among funders and service providers, best practices, volunteer efforts, and community involvement. The systematic needs assessment had three parts:
With support from the Baltimore Homeownership Preservation Coalition, BNIA-JFI collects and provides data on all mortgage foreclosure filings within Baltimore City. Filings are collected through the Baltimore City Circuit Courts and the Maryland Judiciary Case Search system and put into neighborhood oriented maps available on the web. Use of the map allows for interactive display of foreclosure filings for each quarter starting in 2007 of foreclosure filings in each neighborhood in Baltimore City. Spreadsheets are also made available that show information for each filing including date of filing, filing address, and neighborhood. Foreclosure cases are often long and complex with several different possible outcomes. These outcomes include dismissal of foreclosure case, payment of mortgage debt, quick sale of property, and foreclosure of property resulting in public auction. Current and future work by BNIA-JFI is focused on determining what properties are reaching final foreclosure at auction and are being ratified by the Baltimore City Circuit Court System. Foreclosure filings that have been ratified by the court will also be displayed on the interactive map of initial filings on a quarterly basis. This will allow neighborhood and policy makers to better understand the current trends in the foreclosure process within Baltimore City.
Cheryl Knott, GIS Analyst for BNIA-JFI has acted as a mapping mentor for students in the Exhibition Development Seminar at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Their exhibition, entitled “Baltimore: Open City” features the works of scholars, activists, community-based organizations, and artists to create a series of installations, workshops, and other public programs that investigate the ways in which Baltimore is and is not an “open city”.
Beginning in 2004, the Empower Baltimore Management Corporation (EBMC) began working with homeowners located in the Baltimore City Empowerment Zone to improve the quality of their home’s exteriors. Homeowners received grants, ranging from $100 to $5,000 for repairing their roofs, painting steps, replacing windows, replacing gutters, and more. The purpose of the project was to fund investment in owner-occupied properties with the belief that the initiative would have positive impacts on the quality of the housing stock in those areas and stabilize the neighborhood. The project provided an opportunity for homeowners to complete exterior improvements that matched or increased the investment of newer investors. The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance- Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore (BNIA-JFI) was asked provide assistance in the analysis of the program, using their skills and expertise to provide an evaluation of the success of the program.
The Baltimore Neighborhood Market Drilldown iis an assets-based market analysis conducted by Social Compact that combines numerous data sets,both public and private, national and local, in order to build a set of community economic indicators that are tailored to urban markets. These indicators can be used to more accurately describe the size (population), strength (income and buying power), stability (homeownership and residential investment) and investment opportunity of a given market.The DrillDown study area is defined as the entire City of Baltimore. This summary highlights findings for the following thirteen distinct markets selected by DrillDown partners because they have discrete commercial districts and currently demonstrate strong efforts or significant opportunities with respect to commercial revitalization: (1) Belair Edison; (2) East Baltimore Development (EBD) Area; (3) Edmondson Village; (4) Govanstowne; (5) Highlandtown; (6) Oldtown; (7) Park Heights; (8) Pennsylvania Avenue; (9) Pigtown; (10) Reservoir Hill-North Avenue; (11) Station North; (12) West Baltimore MARC; and (13) West Baltimore Street.
Each year the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore publishes its State of the Downtown report which is aimed at measuring the economic progress of the downtown area. BNIA-JFI supports the effort of the Partnership by updating employment information from previous year data provided by InfoUSA. Data is cleaned to ensure business data is only counted once and detailed surveys are conducted to update employment numbers and general information such as changes in contact information (business location or change in number). Changes in business data helps the Partnership identify potential new and closed businesses as well as sectors in which changes have occurred. The State of the Downtown report, as well as other Partnership publications, can be found at their website.