DeKalb County Neighborhood Stabilization Program

Report: DeKalb County NSP Program Improved Home Values, Quality of Life
Rehab investment of $8.9 Million increases surrounding home values by $141 Million

Decatur, Georgia — A recent study produced for DeKalb County Government’s Community Development Department has revealed that DeKalb’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) has increased home values and improved quality of life through blight removal and access to affordable houses in neighborhoods devastated by the economic recession and lingering negative equity. Findings from the report show DeKalb’s investment of $8.9 million to rehabilitate 164 single-family homes in the county resulted in a $141 million increase in values of surrounding properties.

The study, conducted by NeighborWorks America network member Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), tracked the results of single-family homes rehabbed and sold through the federal NSP1 and NSP3 programs in DeKalb County, Ga., from 2010 through 2016. The study also highlights blighted apartments that were demolished or fully improved to provide quality affordable rentals to low-income families.

At the onset of the housing crisis in 2008, DeKalb County was ranked second in the state for foreclosure filings, preceded only by Fulton County. Although foreclosures abated to pre-crisis levels, a proliferation of vacant and abandoned properties negatively impacted home values, especially in concentrations of neighborhoods in the southern part of the county. “The foreclosure crisis stripped family wealth, aided displacement, and left in its wake a significant number of underwater homeowners,” said Allen Mitchell, director of DeKalb County Community Development. “Under the NSP program, we have transformed distressed, foreclosed houses in DeKalb into beautiful, high quality and affordable homes. The NSP program has been a critical component of the County’s efforts to stabilize communities, lift home values, remove blight and support housing affordability.”

The DeKalb NSP program received a total of $23.7 million in program funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a result of the acquisition, rehab and sale of 164 properties, more than $8.6 million in program income was generated and is being reinvested in DeKalb’s NSP program. In addition to improving single-family homes, the program restored 168 multifamily rental units, demolished 12 acres of blighted apartments and developed a park where Brookside Apartments once stood.

“In addition to the important work of stabilizing neighborhoods, our program helped secure affordable homeownership for 164 buyers and their children – more than 350 DeKalb residents in total,” said Barry Williams, DeKalb’s NSP program manager. “Our average homebuyer’s household income was near $40,000. The average home price was near $100,000 and the homebuyers received up to $25,000 in down payment assistance – widening the door for more DeKalb families to achieve the dream of homeownership.”

The DeKalb NSP program generated $7.4 million in local income, $625,000 in taxes and other revenues, 114 jobs, $4.9 million in multifamily development and invested $635,000 in blight remediation. For every $1 spent in improving single-family homes in distressed neighborhoods, values of neighboring homes were lifted by nearly $16.

“This study confirms our belief that an investment by DeKalb’s NSP program provided critically needed affordable homeownership for families while lifting values for the surrounding neighborhood. It’s a win for housing affordability and most importantly, a win to help lift home values and restore wealth in distressed neighborhoods,” explained John O’Callaghan, ANDP president and CEO.

MARCELLA was tired of renting. He was tired of paying $1,500 per month for a mold-infested house with electrical problems and a leaky roof. After a lifetime of renting, he wanted more for his family. Marcella grew up in public housing in Atlanta, but he hoped to raise his five children, ages 3 to 13, in a home of their own. The dream seemed unattainable. “Never in my lifetime did I believe that I would be able to afford a house,” said Marcella. But, he and his wife were determined. They reached out to a loan officer and Marcella was thrilled to learn that he was pre-approved for a mortgage loan on his income as a flooring installation contractor. He also learned that he was eligible for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The family immediately started looking at homes. Before he even set foot in the house he owns today, Marcella knew it was right. “Kids,” he said, gazing from the car at the house and big fenced-in yard. “I think this is going to be your new home.” After the frustrations of living in a poor quality rental home, Marcella wanted to make sure his home would be in excellent condition. The rigorous rehab standards required by the NSP program gave him confidence that his house was of the highest quality. He and his wife both cried when their offer was accepted and they learned the home would be theirs. Now instead of spending $1500 a month on rent to a landlord, Marcella pays $456 per month on his mortgage payment – a long-term, wealth building investment for the future and a home for his family.