Community Initiatives Department Partners for Industry Education in 2017

Community Initiatives
June 30, 2017

Community Initiatives Finds Information is Worth Repeating

For many code enforcement officers, the information about foreclosures and abandonment is new. But sometimes, the information needs to be said and heard more than once. Director of Community Initiatives Michael Halpern, and Community Relations Liaison Heather Lazar are finding that some property maintenance professionals attended one of our classes in the past, but are returning to hear the information for a second time. There are many reasons why the information truly bears repeating. For example, the scopes of work for code enforcement is ever growing and vacant properties may either be a new task on their growing list of duties, or one that is now taking a priority position. New department initiatives, expanding foci of skill sets, or concerns heard from neighbors may all be reasons that contribute to the opportunity to repeat the best practices undertaken by the industry. Other officers may want to hear about updates among servicers or new, innovative approaches and tools that are being developed. All of that can and is delivered by the department. 

In January, the department quickly responded to an invitation from Marcus Kellum, Beautification Unit Director with DeKalb County, Ga., to assist him in co-presenting a class to the International Code Council’s Upper Great Plains Region. The region represents code enforcement officers from and Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and North and South Dakota. Kellum is highly recognized as a code instructor and teaches multiple classes across the country. The department was honored to share information alongside such a knowledgeable colleague and partner.

That same month, the department collaborated with SecureView to teach a class at the Code Enforcement Association of Texas annual conference in Tyler, Texas. The class focused on the need for the industry’s best practices in the wake of the escalating costs of abandonment to a community. The class was so well received that Safeguard partnered with SecureView again in March for a Lunch & Learn session of the Missouri Association of Code Enforcement in Columbia, Mo. Both classes included highly interactive and engaging officers who have worked with Safeguard and have attended classes previously. The officers found that building a solid knowledge of the foreclosure process was the best tool to address the growing volume of vacant properties in their jurisdictions validated their need to attend the class again.

Also in March, officers from across the country attended the annual EduCode conference, an event hosted by the ICC Southern Nevada Chapter, in Las Vegas. Within the well-acclaimed multiple tracts offered throughout the week, the department led a course that enabled officers to enhance their skill sets and levels of expertise.

The Oregon Code Enforcement Association included Safeguard within the curriculum at their annual conference in Bend, Ore. The extended time allotted for the class allowed for a full demonstration of Compliance Connections, the innovative, web-based tool created for code officers. The system allows officers to insert the address of a vacant property and then have it researched by Safeguard’s code compliance team to identify the direct point of contact. This resolves the problem when county records do not include the most transparent, up-to-date information or details regarding the mortgage servicer. Contact information is then shared with code enforcement officers and violations are sent to the appropriate parties.

Last year, the department received certification from the New York State Building Officials Conference (NYSBOC) for the educational class that it offers. New York’s certification adds to the list of other states also recognizing the value in sharing this information with code enforcement professionals. Chapters of NYSBOC have invited Safeguard to their present at their regular meetings, including the Southern Tier Chapter in February and the Westchester County Chapter in May. After certification was granted by NYSBOC, other professional agencies recognized that members could also benefit from hearing Safeguard’s presentation. In March, the Westchester County Fire Marshalls invited the department to speak. This was one of the first times that information was shared with fire fighters --  an appropriate expansion of the typical presentation as fire professionals also are addressing vacant and abandoned properties and the new boarding specifications being undertaken within the industry will certainly influence their work. 

The department was formed seven years ago under the premise that opening the lines of communication with between the industry and cities is fundamentally important to building relationships. We continue the efforts pioneered by Founder and Chairman Robert Klein and have developed a curriculum that delivers pertinent educational information to code enforcement officers. Attendees to presentations walk away with viable information that can help them in their day-to-day operations, whether it is their first time hearing it, or if it is a much needed refresher.

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