Beyond its research, convening, and translation activities, the VPR Network engages with local officials and community leaders in a wide range of capacity building and technical assistance projects that examine, promote, and adapt innovative strategies for reclaiming vacant properties. A few of our recent projects include:
Memphis Health Impact Assessment: Building on the successful partnerships from our work on the 2016 Memphis Blight Elimination Charter, Urban Institute researchers Joe Schilling and Tina Stacy are conducting a two-year health impact assessment on code enforcement interventions to address substandard housing in Memphis in collaboration with NPI. This project is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program.
Memphis Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy (SCEMA): National code enforcement experts Joe Schilling and Kermit Lind will serve as faculty for two pilot management academies co-hosted by Neighborhood Preservation, Inc. and the University of Memphis Law School. Its curriculum and format will institutionalize the principles of strategic code enforcement so that it can eventually become the standard of practice for all code enforcement programs.
Strategic Code Enforcement in Youngstown: Our current project work seeks to infuse principles and practices of strategic code enforcement within the city’s office of housing and property maintenance. By establishing new capacities and partnerships, the city will be able to take more effective, efficient, and neighborhood sensitive approaches to applying code enforcement. Activities include the city’s first code enforcement policies and the procedures manual, a community survey and series of public education brochures, intensive staff training, and performance measures. Funding for this effort was provided by the Wean Family Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation.
Public Health Working Group: In late September 2016, the VPR Network launched its Working Group on Public Health & Blight to examine the public health dimensions and policy impacts of blighted properties.