Renaissance Initiative, Inc.
After two decades of steadily declining property values—marked by widespread absentee ownership—the value of residential properties in Danville’s West Downtown neighborhood is on the rise, increasing by 10 percent in the past few years. Much of that success can be attributed to the work of Renaissance Initiative, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has targeted the most deteriorated properties in this historic neighborhood for acquisition and rehabilitation. In just over four years, the program has successfully bought, improved, and resold five residences, all with attached deed restrictions that require owner occupancy. Five additional properties are in various stages of restoration and available for purchase. One-third of the city’s neighborhood funding now goes to this program, in sharp contrast to the wholesale demolition that was previously employed. The program operates an ongoing public education program to teach property owners correct maintenance skills, encourages real estate professionals to promote this affordable housing option and hopes to partner with Habitat for Humanity to develop vacant lots in the target area.