Safeguard in the News
May 31, 2017
NINE EXPERIENCED STARTUP EXECUTIVES SHARE THE JOURNEYS THAT LED TO THEM GOING IT ON THEIR OWN AS WELL AS THE UNIQUE APPROACHES THAT LED TO THEIR SUCCESSES
RECOGNIZING THE PROBLEM
“Unlike a good bottle of wine, vacant properties do not get better with age,” Says Robert Klein.
And Klein would know. The Chairman and founder of Safeguard Properties, a mortgage field servicing company that has grown from a handful of employees in 1990 to more than 1,500 today, Klein has seen up close the effect that abandoned, boarded-up houses can have on a community, especially during the recent housing downturn and foreclosure crisis.
But instead of turning a blind eye toward the deleterious effects of community blight, the businessman and philanthropist recognized these far-reaching problems, and founded Community Blight Solutions. The organization concentrates on two main initiatives: fast-tracking foreclosure legislation and replacing the seemingly ubiquitous plywood on vacant and abandoned properties with clear polycarbonate boarding.
“Community blight is a cancer that can be cured,” Klein said. “By working together to change legislation and policies that allow blight to fester and by attacking the problem block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, we can break the cycle and make our communities healthy, safer and productive once again.”
Truly tackling the problem of community blight took acknowledging the many issues that led to it, including the ineffective, unattractive boarding-up methods investors were using— ones that encouraged crime, ruined community curb appeal, and sent local home values plummeting.
“The costs associated with plywood-boarded vacant and abandoned properties continue to escalate,” Klein said. “From vandalism to the property, damage caused by weather because plywood warps over time and costs for re-boarding, we knew there must be a better way to secure unoccupied properties.”
To address this issue—as well as the larger blight problem at hand—Community Blight Solutions got creating, launching SecureView, a state-of-the-art window and door system made of clear polycarbonate.
“SecureView is a practical and attractive alternative to plywood boarding which has become the ugly and stigmatizing symbol of community blight,” Klein said. “Communities, lenders, and servicers across the country are using it to secure their properties, protect, and maintain the value of their asset, and support neighborhood stabilization.”
SecureView and Community Blight Solutions’ legislative efforts have been successful, too. Klein is happy to report that Ohio, Maryland, and other states have passed new fast-tracked legislation. In March 2017, Fannie Mae instructed servicers that clear boarding should be installed on properties already sealed with plywood, and provided a 90-day compliance period. A new clear boarding allowable was included in the recent clarification, and Freddie Mac recently updated its allowable for servicers using clear boarding on pre-foreclosure properties.
Source: DS News (full feature)