How the Zombie House Crisis Mutated and What Cities Are Doing About It

June 04, 2015

By Anna Clark | May 29, 2015
Published on Next City.

Are there more zombies in our city than ever before, or are we just paying more attention to them? “Zombie properties” is a clever name to describe residential buildings that are neither alive nor dead: They are caught in the limbo of an incomplete foreclosure. The real estate title stayed with the homeowner even after foreclosure proceedings began. The lender walked away — in some cases to avoid having the risk of a low-value property on the books. Homeowners walked away thinking the property was no longer theirs. With no one explicitly responsible for the property, the zombie house falls into vacancy and decay.

As NCST's Annie Carvalho describes it, even though the national mortgage settlement has made incomplete foreclosures less common, cities, especially in the Midwest, still struggle with those that were abandoned before the settlement was reached. “It’s still very difficult for folks locally to identify where they can go to make something happen to a property,” Carvalho says.

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Fannie, Freddie to discount blighted homes in Chicago, Cook County

April 15, 2015

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are embarking on an ambitious pilot program designed to remove thousands of vacant, foreclosed homes from their books and repair neighborhoods throughout Chicago and suburban Cook County. The two agencies, which own more foreclosed properties than anyone else, are expected to announce Wednesday they will offer qualified nonprofit groups and their developers an option to buy foreclosures, often at a discount, before the properties are publicly listed for sale.

"The key here is time is not our friend," said Craig Nickerson, president of National Community Stabilization Trust. "A foreclosed property has a viral, contagious effect on a neighborhood. It's incumbent on us to move quickly and find a buyer."

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Army Veteran Receives Renovated, Mortgage-Free Home

April 13, 2015

After 63 years of living in apartments, a U.S. Army veteran became a first time home owner. His children, grandchildren, members of the community, Bank of America employees, Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation and NCST gathered to honor his service and sacrifice to our country and welcome him to his newly renovated, mortgage-free home.

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Where are the non-bank servicers?

March 05, 2015

While the economic recovery is well underway in many parts of America, not all local markets are participating.  Many communities that were hard hit by the housing and economic crisis, particularly in the Midwest and Southeast, are being left behind.

As published on

By Craig Nickerson, President, National Community Stabilization Trust

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The Next Frontier in Neighborhood Stabilization – The ReClaim Project

March 04, 2015

In numerous communities, REO inventories are declining and overall foreclosure rates are at five-year lows; however, the importance of continuing the work of stabilizing hard hit neighborhoods is far from over. Many neighborhoods, often low- to moderate-income and multicultural communities, continue to be disproportionately affected by the housing crisis. In many respects, the future of neighborhood stabilization looks different than in the recent past.

As published on the Center for Community Progress blog

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NCST Connects Deserving Military Veterans to Affordable Housing

November 10, 2014

NCST's Veteran Donation Program has surpassed 1,200 homes. We are proud to honor deserving military veterans on Veterans Day and throughout the year by connecting them with affordable housing opportunities across the country.

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NCST Helps Revitalize Hard Hit Neighborhoods

October 28, 2014

Life looked grim for Jennifer Alvarez, a Spring Hill, Fla., resident. She left an abusive relationship and had nowhere to go. Alvarez lived at a women’s shelter and with friends, then eventually she and her two children left their former state and started a new life in Florida. Alvarez said she’s amazed when she looks back to see her life then as compared to her life today — a homeowner with family stability. It was NCSTs link to a local housing organization that helped Alvarez realize the dream of owning her own home.

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Halftime Holiday Surprise for Detroit Metro Vet

December 26, 2013

Thanks to National Faith Homebuyers and Bank of America, a surprise home donation to Sgt. Todd Beesley and family stole the show during halftime at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on December 26, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.

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Decorated North Texas Vet Honored with Donated Home

December 13, 2013

Corporal Seth Thomas and his family were welcomed into a fully donated home in the North Texas community of Pottsboro today, thanks to the hard work of Tarrant County Housing Partnership, in partnership with Bank of America and the National Community Stabilization Trust.

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Rehab-Resale Program Increases Minneapolis Home Values

May 03, 2011

Finance & Commerce

In the Camden, North, Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods - target areas for Neighborhood Stabilization Program acquisition and rehabiliation activities - property values are on the rise, even as the Minneapolis market as a whole stays flat.

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AZ Pilot Program Uses Unlikely Partners to Increase Valley Homeownership

March 25, 2011

MESA, AZ - A pilot program is aimed at helping people own a home in the Valley with what might seem like unlikely partners.

Investors, who are typically not as welcome in neighborhoods compared to an owner occupant, might be the key to stabilizing neighborhoods and helping the dream of homeownership come true for many.

The program, through the Neighborhood Community Stabilization Trust , is working with investors who get first shot at buying the homes before they go on the open market. They then go in and rehab the homes to above-market value. The catch is they can’t rent them, and they can only sell them to owner occupants.

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Foreclosures Could Claim More Than 1 Million Homes in 2010

July 15, 2010

Realty Trac projects that more than a million homes may be lost to foreclosure in 2010, eclipsing the total number of foreclosures in 2009.

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Using Stimulus Funds, Capital-Area Project to Renovate Homes

September 29, 2009

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Authority launches its Property Recycling Program in partnership with the National Community Stabilization Trust.

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National Collaboration Turns Foreclosures Into Opportunities

September 10, 2009

Leading national non-profit community development intermediaries collaborate to launch the National Community Stabilization Trust.

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Collaborative Trust Aims to Rebuild Foreclosure-Ravaged Neighborhoods

August 31, 2009

Coverage on the National Community Stabilization Trust launch and early results

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National Collaboration Turns Foreclosures Into Opportunities

August 27, 2009

Leaders from the nonprofit sector, philanthropic community, financial industry and government collaborate on innovative approaches to reclaim neighborhoods.

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Creative New Venture to Help Communities Revitalize Neighborhoods Hit Hard by Foreclosures

May 19, 2009

Overview of the National Community Stabilization Trust and the MacArthur and Ford Foundations' joint funding of start-up capital

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Ford Foundation Aids In Solving Mortgage Crisis

May 06, 2009

NPR's Morning Edition covers the Ford Foundation's $50 million donation to the National Community Stabilization Trust

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Foundation Backs Foreclosure Project

May 01, 2009

The Ford Foundation pledges support to a new nonprofit venture that will help municipalities buy foreclosed homes from financial institutions.

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To Help Stabilize Neighborhoods, Nonprofits get First Look at Foreclosed Property

April 07, 2009

The National Community Stabilization Trust pilots its ‘First Look’ program in the Twin Cities.

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One Nonprofit’s Solution To Housing Foreclosures

April 01, 2009

New strategies for non-profits and municipalities to buying foreclosed properties

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The Roots Community of Growth

November 2012


Collaborative alliances with nonprofits are helping America’s neighborhoods plant the seeds for a fruitful future.

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Toward Sustainable Housing Solutions for America’s Homeless Veterans

September 25, 2012

Citi Blog

A coalition of committed public, private and nonprofit sector leaders joined together at the 2012 Veteran Access to Housing Summit to  shared ideas about how to end veteran homelessness.

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Twin Cities Organization Expands Role of Land Banks

April 2012

Community Dividend

Publication of the Community Development Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis


Through its acquisition, community lending, and land-banking programs, Twin Cities Community Land Bank is contributing to the Minneapolis-St. Paul area's foreclosure recovery efforts.

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Neighborhood Stabilization: A Nationwide Community Effort

September 16, 2011


Nonprofit housing organizations are partnering up with lenders and government agencies to minimize neighborhood blight caused by vacant foreclosed properties and, when possible put those homes back into the hands of responsible borrowers.

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