1,000 Homes, 1,000 Days project
Having lost 30K in population since the 1950 close of the Studebaker plant, South Bend had hundreds of abandoned homes and lots. Blight and crime were fracturing communities. Mayor Pete listened to concerns from the residents and committed to finally dealing with these abandoned properties.
This was not "gentrification" because the homes affected were not occupied, and the home owners who lived around these properties remained in place and, in fact, saw their neighborhoods made safer and their own home values improve.
In some cases locals had concerns and preferred to see properties fixed up. Mayor Pete listened to their concerns and offered city grants to help fix up these property. The HUD report on the facts of the project is offered below.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Interview at beginning of 1000 Houses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-2UO5dOOXY
Interview near the end of 1000 Houses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysvcm5bINYY
SB resident Joseph Molnar dissects the project (Twitter): "The demographics of those neighborhoods have not changed in any significance. The only real change is that the market is finally returning to those neighborhood."
Lis Smith on gentrification myth (Twitter): "He’s a leader who not only took on tough challenges but listened and learned from members of community while doing so."
AKM-South Bend constituent and a great follow! Her timeline if full of corrections to this myth (Twitter): "I'm from SB, Pete didnt do that and I wish people stop the lies...he tore down trap houses and abandoned homes...no one was a displaced person.. stop it already... we're tired of it."
AJ_Indiana- South Bend constituent praising nuanced take on IndyStar video thread (Twitter): "It's the most accurate reporting I've seen on this. We are nuanced, vocal and hold our officials accountable. Mayor Pete has been open, accessible and willing to make changes based on new info/convos. That's the type of leadership we need more of in this country."
South Bend residents discuss the way people get it wrong about the 1000 houses project (Twitter): "She's right. I am so tired of how this is played as Buttigieg disinformation."
Washington Monthly: “How the Media is getting Mayor Pete’s South Bend Gentrification Story Wrong” - "Buttigieg launched South Bend Repair, an initiative composed of three programs and more than $1 million in investment at the city and federal level, according to the South Bend Tribune. The effort is aimed at helping homeowners make renovations small and large. One of programs, Love Your Block, includes a $25,000 grant from the national Cities of Service nonprofit, matched by $25,000 from the city."
Curbed.com: "How Mayor Pete used good urbanism to revitalize South Bend" - "The effort met its target early, addressing 1,122 properties by knocking down 60 percent and fixing the rest, identifying homes based on code violations, foreclosures, and abandonment. Setting an ambitious goal to change the look of the city, and meeting it, “really lifted the morale in the city,” Buttigieg would tell David Axelrod. Colwell said the plan was “amazing” and really helped the impacted neighborhoods."
Indy Star: "Pete Buttigieg Says He's Mayor of a Turnaround City. Here's How That Claim Stands Up" -"Stacey Odom said she approached the mayor after learning of preliminary plans to redevelop her neighborhood, a historically black area called LaSalle Park, on the city's west side. She said she told Buttigieg the city should help the people currently living there keep their homes. The redevelopment plans, which she characterized as not having progressed very far, were abandoned. She asked the mayor for $300,000 for a grant program to help homeowners with repairs. He countered, she said, with $650,000. "That’s the kind of person you want in office," she said. "Someone who is looking at your best interests. And if they’re not (at first), if you go to them and tell them what your interests are, then they will take your concerns and make them their concerns.""
Indy Star: South Bend residents talking about 1000 Houses (VIDEO)
Medium.com:"What the Well-Intended Takes on Mayor Pete’s 1000 Homes Program Miss" - "It’s surely beneficial for us closely watch for the early indicators of gentrification and displacement in our region. But as it stands, there is substantial room for our city to grow on the vast swathes left vacant before we run into these issues on the sort of scale experienced by our coastal counterparts."
Wired "Pete Buttigieg Revived South Bend with Tech: Next Up, America" - "Buttigieg brought data, flow charts, and McKinsey-esque analysis to city government—as well as a bit of philosophical humanism. Since he became mayor seven years ago, unemployment in the city has fallen, from 13 percent in 2010 to 3.2 percent last fall—below the national rate—and South Bend has seen its first significant population increase in half a century."
WSBT-TV: Crime decreases with 1,000 homes in 1,000 days project (VIDEO)
US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Report “South Bend’s Vacant and Abandoned Housing Challenge: 1,000 Houses in 1000 Days” https://www.huduser.gov/portal/pdredge/pdr-edge-inpractice-011116.html
Key Facts in Report:
1,000 houses were not demolished. In fact, about 40% of the houses addressed by the program were repaired with help from the city. From the HUD report: by the program’s end, the city had exceeded its goal and addressed 1,122 houses: 427 were repaired, 569 were demolished, 10 were deconstructed, 6 were set aside for repair by community development corporations, and 110 were under contract for demolition.
Residents were not dislocated from their housing by this program. All of the structures addressed by this program were identified as vacant. From the HUD report: “The report, which defined a vacant house as one that has not been occupied for more than 90 days and an abandoned house as one that’s vacant with a code violation that’s not been addressed in more than 30 days, identified 1,900 vacant and 1,275 abandoned properties throughout the city.”
The HUD report also cites one of the primary advantages of addressing these abandoned properties: namely, it is good for the neighborhoods and the city at large. From the HUD report: “Vacant and abandoned properties drain community resources by depressing neighboring property values. They also correlate with higher rates of crime and arson, and are often tax delinquent, which further harms cities.”
According to Buzzfeed: “Buttigieg launched South Bend Repair, an initiative composed of three programs and more than $1 million in investment at the city and federal level, according to the South Bend Tribune. The effort is aimed at helping homeowners make renovations small and large. One of programs, Love Your Block, includes a $25,000 grant from the national Cities of Service nonprofit, matched by $25,000 from the city. … [Williams-Preston] has developed a working relationship with Buttigieg.