Fighting Blight in the Northeast-Midwest: A Capitol Hill Briefing on Vacant and Abandoned Property and the Federal Response

Dr. Colleen Cain speaks at a podium in front of a crowd.
 The Northeast-Midwest Institute (NEMWI) hosted a briefing on May 24, 2016 in conjunction with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition and Representative Marcia Fudge (OH-11). Approximately 50 attendees learned about: the widespread and persistent effects of abandoned property, including the most recent wave of abandonment resulting from the foreclosure crisis; NEMWI’s work to identify and assess federal resources and legislation that can help communities address blight; and innovative approaches that communities are taking, with the assistance of federal programs, to rehabilitate or demolish property, or reuse land productively post-demolition.


Dr. Colleen Cain, Senior Policy Analyst at NEMWI, discussed highlights from her recent report, including regional trends, as well as federal programs and legislation to address blight. Mr. Frank Ford, Senior Policy Advisor at Thriving Communities Institute, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, discussed the housing market in Cleveland and local strategies to address abandoned buildings and property. Mr. Michael Braverman, Deputy Commissioner of Permits & Code Enforcement for the City of Baltimore, gave examples of successful stabilization tactics used in Baltimore to improve property values. Finally, Mr. Stephen Janes, the Assistant Commissioner of Research & Compliance for the City of Baltimore, elaborated on the federal response to blight over time and the need for large scale demolition funding. To view the presentation slides, click here.