Meet the forgotten housing crisis. While most attention has focused on the wave of foreclosures sweeping mostly middle-class, suburban Sunbelt neighborhoods from California to Florida, the nation's emptiest neighborhoods have remained concentrated in the same place for nearly a generation: the mostly minority, poor, urban neighborhoods of the American Rust Belt.
"I'd move in a heartbeat if I had somewhere to go right now," said Cindy Olejniczak of Buffalo, raking trash from the lawn of a boarded-up house to keep it from blowing in her yard. Roughly every third home in her neighborhood is vacant. Not even pizzerias will deliver to the area now.
"It's almost like you wish they would just level the whole neighborhood," she said, "and start rebuilding again from scratch."
The AP analysis relies on US Postal Service and HUD data about emerging vacancy patterns. In Buffalo, LISC-Buffalo has been at the vanguard of analyis and public policy development around vacancy issues and urban land use development. Last year I posted this - Undeliverable & Unbelievable - Unstoppable? - that borrows heavily on LISC's distillation of this mountain of data in the US Postal Service/HUD mash-up.
Today's short AP video - Empty Neighborhoods - shouldn't be missed.Anthony (Armstrong LISC-Buffalo Program Officer) advises that the AP only counted "vacant" not the "no stat" category, which means they vastly under-report the problem in chronically stressed tracts. Tract 27.02 reported at 30% vacant, but with no stats it would have been 37.6%, the worst of them, tract 28 has a combined "vacant" and "no stat" of 39.1%, but this only showed up as 27.6% in the AP tables.
Creative Class • Shrinking Cities • Saturdays in the Neighborhood