Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, along with housing advocates and community members from the Legal Aid Society, Price Hill Will, Working In Neighborhoods, Citizens United For Action announced the city-wide expansion of the Vacant Foreclosed Property Registration (VFPR) program on March 12, 2014, bringing it to every neighborhood in Cincinnati. The pilot program - passed unanimously by Council in 2012 - covered College Hill, East Price Hill, West Price Hill, Madisonville, and Westwood, which are the neighborhoods that have seen the highest number of foreclosures each year. The city-wide expansion was passed by Council on March 12 with a vote of 8-0.
The program - part of Sittenfeld's Restoring Our Communities Initiative (ROCI) - requires lenders to register foreclosed vacant properties with the city and maintain them to a reasonable standard which does not convey the appearance of vacancy. The pilot program, which has been financially self-sustaining through its registration fees and fine structure, has tracked hundreds of vacant foreclosed properties, stabilized or improved their conditions, and saved millions of dollars in prevented loss property value and public maintenance costs.
"We're encouraged that the pilot has been deemed a big success, and that all of the neighborhoods want to benefit from this effective tool for combating the negative consequences of foreclosures," Sittenfeld said. "We expect the same level of responsibility from big banks and lenders that we ask of all our citizens. Too big to fail shouldn't mean too big to mow the lawn."