Thursday, January 03, 2008

Over 140 Landlords attend class to learn how to curb crime

By Debbie Isabell Nelson

Neighborhood Housing Services
Landlords from across the City turned out in droves for the Community Safety Initiatives’ (CSI Duluth) Landlord and Property Manager Training held on December 12 at the Central Hillside Community Center. The 140 landlords attending received tools from two nationally recognized consultants: Julia Ryan, National LISC Community Safety Initiative Program Director and Tim Vance, a residential crime and asset management consultant, whose clients include LISC and the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Both trainers hail fromTopics of discussion ranged from establishing house rules and lease language to preventing crime through property maintenance and environmental design.

CSI is a collaborative effort of Duluth LISC, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) Duluth, and Churches United in Ministry (CHUM.) Together these three organizations work closely with the Duluth Police Department to improve neighborhood safety, raise awareness and curb crime.

Local lawyer and city councilor, Greg Gilbert, added expertise concerning residential evictions in Duluth. Community Officer, Barry Midthun, provided participants with information on tenant screening including how to obtain background checks on potential tenants.

In addition, two special sessions were held focusing on building safety issues, problem properties, and crime “hot spots” in Duluth. A task force was formed and will continue to meet.

“The Duluth Police Department, NHS Duluth and CHUM are partnering in a way that is very unusual,” said Ryan, “Their commitment and creativity is paying off in the form of stronger Duluth neighborhoods, and they are quickly becoming leaders in LISC’s national community safety network.”

CSI is part of the larger Creating Neighborhoods That Work-At Home in Duluth collaborative. Its ongoing work includes hosting block parties and community meetings to address crime “hot spots” in Duluth. “It’s really exciting to see so many landlords interested in addressing crime and safety issues,” said Duluth LISC Executive Director Pam Kramer. “Community safety and raising awareness are vital to creating thriving, sustainable neighborhoods, which is what our Creating Neighborhoods That Work-At Home in Duluth is all about.”

Future plans of the CSI collaborative are to hold a drug awareness meeting for landlords to be scheduled this spring. For more information or to be added to our mailing list, contact Debbie Isabell Nelson at NHS (218) 727-8604, ext. 12 or Ben Small at CHUM at (218) 625-1739.

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