Richmond, VA has an innovative project designed to combat the problem of urban blight and affordable housing. That project, called "Neighborhoods in Bloom," focuses on six neighborhoods across Richmond and offers residents there help with housing renovation, restoration, construction, and sales. The city of Richmond's website has more information about each neighborhood and the challenges facing it.
Recently the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond commissioned a study to examine the project and chart its progress. The results look good as the study found, for instance, that almost 400 homes had either been built or renovated in the project's six-year existence. Property values have risen as a result and one of the study's authors contends that "increases in property-tax revenue over the next two decades will equal the total of housing grants the city directed to the seven areas."
This project is a smart approach to community preservation and we encourage you to read more about it in this Richmond Times Dispatch story or on the LISC website. For a more general guide to the importance of home ownership to communities, visit our Solutions for America website. Or, for information on how local credit unions can work to build communities through home ownership, read this chapter (PDF) on the Vermont Development Credit Union from the Pew Partnership's most recent publication, Inventing Civic Solutions.