NewsChannel5 to air Building Better Neighborhoods primetime special on NE Ohio housing issues

Program to address rise in suburban foreclosures

CLEVELAND - NewsChannel5 will air it's second Building Better Neighborhoods live special, as part of it's on-going effort to help improve northeast Ohio communities.

The broadcast will air on NewsChannel5 Thurs., Nov. 29, from 8 to 9 PM, and will include extended coverage, streaming live here on newsnet5.com from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

NewsChannel5 will host lawmakers on the city, state and federal level in studio, while including housing experts and a live audience from two remote locations.

The Building Better Neighborhoods special will give northeast Ohio homeowners the opportunity to discuss issues facing their neighborhoods, and engage with local leaders, in the search for solutions.

The latest figures released by the Case Western Reserve University Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development show an increase in foreclosures in key suburban communities over the past year.

The numbers compiled Neighborhood Progress Senior Vice President Frank Ford show 2012 foreclosures up by 32 percent in Beachwood, up 33 percent in Independence, up 40 percent in Moreland Hills and Richmond Heights, over the past year.

Ford warns the increase in foreclosures are producing a greater number of vacant properties, which are reducing property values, and the tax base in these communities.

"Even though things look fine on your street, if you would check the public records, they would find that some of the houses that look occupied are in foreclosure," said Ford.

Ford and Case Western Reserve University Research Analyst Michael Schramm explained how the drop in tax base could have an impact on city service throughout the NewsChannel5 viewing area.

Schramm cited a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, that outline the impact of foreclosures on surrounding housing stock.

"For every foreclosure, houses within 500 feet of the foreclosure, will yield a 4.6 percent decrease of its value," said Schramm.

NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods has been reporting on the problems caused by foreclosures, and abandoned properties since the initiative was launched in Dec. 2011.

In 2012 the program helped to host 5 neighborhood improvement projects in Cleveland, Akron, Painesville, and Elyria

Building Better Neighborhoods has worked to spark awareness and neighborhood volunteerism in an effort to recover what was lost during the housing crisis.

Thursday's NewsChannel5 special is another component in giving residents a voice, fostering solutions, and neighborhood activism.

Residents are encouraged to be part of two live audiences during the broadcast, held at Lincoln West High School auditorium, 3202 West 30 Street in Cleveland, or the Eastman Branch of the Cleveland Public Library, 11602 Lorain Avenue, Cleveland.

NewsChannel5 is also trying to spark neighborhood involvement by residents, who volunteer to make a difference when it comes to vacant and condemned properties.

We're inviting residents to report nuisance properties through our Building Better Neighborhood initiative.

Just send us pictures and information on vacant homes in your neighborhood and we'll forward the information to your city building department, in an effort to move the properties to progress.

We are also giving residents information on how they can volunteer in their neighborhoods to make them better. Those interested in starting a volunteer effort in their neighborhood should contact Hands on Northeast Ohio for more information.

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