Reinvigorating Springfield's economy: lessons from resurgent cities
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper analyzes the economic development approaches of other mid-sized manufacturing-oriented cities during the past half century. From among a comparison group of 25 municipalities that were similar to Springfield in 1960, the study identifies 10 "resurgent cities" that have made substantial progress in improving living standards for their residents, and that are recognized as vital communities in a broader sense by experts on urban economic ...
Massachusetts’ efforts to address foreclosed properties
Massachusetts has been ahead of the curve in combating neighborhood deterioration as real-estate-owned (lender-owned) foreclosed properties increase. Affordable housing developers, community groups, municipal and state officials, and nonprofits have created a Foreclosed Property Task Force and an online database that is accessible by all the partners. The database is already improving decision making about where resources would have the most impact.
Massachusetts’ efforts to address foreclosed properties
The growing number of troubled mortgages in New England poses challenges for local communities. As foreclosures mount, so do the number of vacant homes, given that most properties that do not sell at auction remain in the hands of the foreclosing lender. These foreclosed properties, known as lender-owned or real estate owned (REO) properties, present an obstacle to preserving healthy neighborhoods.
Jobs in Springfield, Massachusetts: understanding and remedying the causes of low resident employment rates
As part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's commitment to supporting efforts to revitalize the economy of Springfield, Massachusetts, this paper explores the causes of and potential remedies for the city's low resident employment rates. When compared to the state as a whole and to other midsize New England cities, the share of employed city residents is low, particularly for residents of downtown Springfield and its nearby neighborhoods. By analyzing the availability of jobs across Springfield's various neighborhoods and in nearby towns and cities, this paper's goal is to learn why so few ...
Towards a more prosperous Springfield, Massachusetts: project introduction and motivation
The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has committed to supporting ongoing efforts at the state and local levels to revitalize the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. Drawing upon its analytical capabilities, its experience working with community organizations and earlier research on poverty in Springfield, the Bank seeks to develop strategies that will enable Springfield residents, particularly those living in impoverished neighborhoods in and near downtown, to participate more fully in the Springfield economy and the revitalization process. The Bank?s efforts are also intended to complement the ...
Towards a more prosperous Springfield, MA: what jobs exist for people without a college education?
This paper analyzes projections of Massachusetts employment opportunities by occupation to address concerns about a shortage of jobs for those who lack a college education. While occupations requiring a college degree will grow more rapidly over the period 2006-2016 than occupations that do not require college, replacement needs will ensure large numbers of job openings that do not require college. Wage levels in jobs that do not require college are generally low, however. The exceptions usually require meaningful training of another sort, such as long-term on-the-job training or courses in ...
How loan modifications affect credit scores
Homeowners who receive loan modifications and successfully avoid foreclosure may face another issue, one that is not well understood. It turns out that participation in loan-modification programs may adversely affect credit scores. 1 The magnitude of the impact is unclear because many factors affect what lenders will report about borrowers who seek modifications, and other factors affect how much the credit-reporting agencies, credit-score providers, and lenders will penalize borrowers who have loan modifications on their credit reports. Although both the U.S. Treasury and credit-scoring ...
Does Springfield receive its fair share of municipal aid? : implications for aid formula reform in Massachusetts
This paper examines the distribution of unrestricted municipal aid in Massachusetts, which has been a major concern to civic leaders and elected officials of many communities, including Springfield. The paper develops a measure of the municipal fiscal gap indicating the relative need of municipalities for state aid. The analysis shows that in recent years, unrestricted municipal aid has not been distributed in proportion to the gap measure among the 10 largest cities in Massachusetts. For example, despite having the largest municipal gap, Springfield received almost the lowest per capita ...
Housing policy and poverty in Springfield
This essay considers whether housing policies may have contributed to the concentration of poverty in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts ? a question that emerged in conversations with local leaders. Springfield is not alone in having large numbers of lower income households living downtown. This pattern is common in American cities. Recent research emphasizes the role of public transportation in causing lower income households to live closer to downtown. However, spillover effects and government policies, including housing policies, have reinforced this tendency. The essay reviews federal ...