The Challenge of Scattered-Site Rental Management

In the winter 2011 issue of Shelterforce we looked at the difficult challenge behind managing scatttered-site rental housing by nonprofits, and the related costs—from trash removal, to travel time and gas for maintenance crews—and the descreased management efficiency when units are spread out over a wide area.

As the article notes, however, “Even with its challenges, it seems like scattered-site rental is going to be a significant tool for neighborhood stabilization in the coming years.” Mission-based nonprofits are committed to the idea because, as Benji Power of Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida notes in the article, “scattered-site rentals provide nonprofits with a strong physical presence and stakeholder role within a neighborhood, enabling them to be more involved in local political lobbying and neighborhood change.”

This was the subject of a recent convening held by the Chicago Community Trust and the Regional Home Ownership Preservation Initiative that examined Chicago-area strategies to address vacant properties, and specifically scattered-site managment approaches. Click here to download a PDF of the white paper that resulted from that event. 

More, NeighborWorks America has developed its Scattered Site Rental Toolkit that is geared to help nonprofits tprovide affordable housing and stabilize neighborhoods.

It's not completely clear on how this stabilization tactic will be used in the years to come, but it's likely that this approach will hinge on FHFA's disposition plan in regard to 200,000 homes in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac REO inventory:

As this huge inventory opens up, clearly for-profit and nonprofit owners are both interested. Who buys it and how the properties will be managed could have major implications for neighborhood stabilization in neighborhoods with large numbers of foreclosed properties.

Photo courtesy of the Genesee County Land Bank.

Matthew Brian Hersh served as senior editor at Shelterforce from March 2008 to October 2012. He studied English at Rutgers University and has spent his professional career in journalism, policy, and politics.


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