Establish a clearinghouse of vacant and abandoned properties in the area along with the following information:
1) Legal status of the property (eg disputed foreclosure, absentee owner, etc)
2) Available resources in close proximity (to gauge or stimulate potential real estate development interest)
3) Habitability status (move-in ready or needs work?)
4) Zoning Status (especially for commercial properties to determine possible mixed use)
5) TIF and other special funding availability
The aim of the initiative would be to match available commercial and residential structures with individuals and households seeking affordable housing. The initiative would provide wrap-around social services for individuals and households moving into properties along with harnessing government, private and NGO resources for the sustainable rehabilitation of properties that needed repairs.
It just so happpens that I am working on just such an initiative, called Legally Occupy and I could use the support of the Cook County Board and others interested in promoting affordable housing in the area to help get the initiative up and running.
I am especially seeking support that would allow me to devote full-time effort for the next 30 to 60 days to further build out the Hidden Value in Abandoned Buildings (HViAB) platform that I am developing with Dan Fehrenbach of CNT Energy. A rudimentary version of the HViAB platform focused on the Bronzeville area of Chicago won a runner-up prize in the 2012 Urban Sustainability Hackathon sponored by the Center for Neighborhood Technology in October.