CHIRP – Community Home Investment Repurchasing Program

CHIRP is designed to stem the flow of the foreclosure crisis while allowing communities the opportunity to use federal funds to stimulate local economies. There are many safeguards that must be built into CHIRP prior to enacting legislation, but by understanding it as one part of a larger growth and reinvestment solution into America’s future, solutions are possible.

CHIRP allows communities the chance to band together to repurchase homes and invest in their futures. By meeting a set of stipulations, a community can be eligible for a series of federal loans and insurance programs that will allow municipalities to purchase homes from banks for under market value. This provides a much-needed flow of capital throughout the banking structure, while giving communities valuable assets that can be maximized as investments.
Chirp’s stipulations would include a vision and business plan for the municipality, created with direct community involvement. A sample plan would include the rental or sale of community-owned property to increase the funding of public services provided at the state and local levels, such as schools, libraries, police, and fire. This would provide much-needed relief to strained budgets.

A portion of the CHIRP funds for each project would go to ongoing asset management planning – this allows communities to invest for long-term sustainability. By making greater amounts of locally-owned property available for rent, local communities have greater power over their futures. This direct empowerment speaks to grassroots organization efforts on both sides of the political spectrum, and could be a useful olive branch of real bipartisanship in an otherwise hostile environment.

Business, investors, homeowners and governments have explicit self-interest in maintaining and growing property values. There is direct evidence to support the rationale that a rising tide lifts all ships – when prosperity is high, crime is low. By building strong local communities of ownership, we can grow sustainable local economies across the country.