Document Type

Report

Publication Date

8-25-2014

Research Center

Center for Community Planning and Development

Abstract

In 2005, Cuyahoga County became one of the first places in the nation to respond to the rapid increase in the number of residential foreclosure filings. In response to concerns raised by suburban mayors, the County developed a comprehensive foreclosure prevention initiative. The County’s response was multi-­‐faceted and included modifications to the judicial foreclosure process to make foreclosures faster and fairer, greater coordination across County agencies involved in foreclosures such as the sheriff, the prosecutor, the treasurer and the recorder. A key facet of the response was the creation of the Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program (CCFPP) which involves face to face counseling to help struggling homeowners address mortgage issues and stay in their homes. Since its creation in 2005, the CCFPP has adapted to the rapidly changing nature of the crisis.

Early on, in 2006, Cleveland State University was brought on to evaluate the program. The role of the evaluators has been to track progress and provide information about the program that has been used to improve and adapt it to the rapidly changing state and national context surrounding foreclosures. This report is the eighth annual evaluation report to the County. It highlights trends and identifies successes and gaps and makes recommendations for program improvements.

The number of foreclosure filings in the County peaked in 2007 at 13,777; remained over 13,500 for three years, and finally began to decline in 2010. In 2013, there were 8,912 residential foreclosure filings in Cuyahoga County, a 24 percent decline from 2012 and a 38 percent decline from the peak in 2007. This is good news for local housing markets, many of which are still in recovery mode throughout the County.

Since Cuyahoga County began its foreclosure prevention program in 2006, a total of 13,505 homeowners have received counseling from one of the five participating agencies. In 2013, 3,617 households were counseled by the five participating agencies.

With an estimated 26,000 vacant parcels countywide2, (15,718 of them in the city), and thousands of homeowners still facing foreclosure, the County’s housing markets remain weak and values have not recovered. The result is an estimated 9-­‐13% decrease in County property tax base and associated tax revenue receipts.3 Property tax foreclosure is becoming an increasing concern.

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