Responding to Foreclosures in Cuyahoga County: Program Year Three Evaluation Report, March 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009
Cuyahoga County, Ohio is at the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. With close to 13,000 foreclosure filings a year since 2005, more than 10,000 vacant and derelict structures and thousands of homeowners losing their homes, the effects of the crisis will be long lasting and far reaching. In Ohio, County courts, agencies and departments have some level of authority and responsibility for virtually every step of the foreclosure process. So it is not surprising that the fifteen mayors of the First Suburbs Consortium2 turned to Cuyahoga County to help them address this crisis. In response, in August 2005, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners launched a broad Foreclosure Initiative with two potentially conflicting goals: making foreclosure proceedings faster and fairer to aid municipalities struggling with properties “in limbo” as a result of being stuck in the foreclosure pipeline and preventing foreclosures to aid residents who wanted to keep their homes. Since that time the Initiative has made measurable progress on both fronts. Understanding the successes and barriers of Cuyahoga County’s Initiative holds lessons for other cities and counties facing what may well be one of the most challenging urban issues of the Century.