University of Wisconsin–Madison

Capital Times talks to Alexander about neighborhood impacts of foreclosures

The crisis in the housing market has hit Madison. Dane County saw 1,768 foreclosure filings in 2010, five times the number recorded in 2000. Of particular concern is the effect these foreclosures could have on Madison's neighborhoods and neighborhood organizations.

And when the Capital Times set out to cover the story, they went to Professor Lisa Alexander, an expert in housing and community economic development law.

Professor Alexander teaches a course called Housing and Community Economic Development Law, in which students study issues and conduct service-learning projects for Madison-area CED organizations, including the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and the Southdale Neighborhood Association.

Last semester, some of Professor Alexander's students working with the Dane County Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce surveyed other communities to find best practices for dealing with foreclosures. Of particular interest were the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., which share many similarities with Madison. Ideas that Professor Alexander and her students thought would be a good fit for Dane County include a public-private land bank to purchase foreclosed houses for resale, ordinances that penalize property owners who let property sit vacant, and "home tours" to make prospective buyers aware of foreclosed, vacant properties on the market.

Although Madison's neighborhoods have not had as severe impacts as neighborhoods in larger Midwestern cities such as Milwaukee and Detroit, Professor Alexander says that it is important to start exploring ways to lessen the impact of foreclosures before the situation gets any worse.

The full article is available here.

Submitted by UW Law School News on January 6, 2011

This article appears in the categories: In the Media

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