Financial Well-Being

“Income is how you get out of poverty; assets are how you stay out.” How do we build policies, programs, and products that reduce systematic inequality and advance financial security for all?

Flooded: How Natural Disasters Lead to Predatory Lending in the Rio Grande Valley

The devastation that communities in the Rio Grande Valley experience is twofold: the initial destruction of the floods and the cycle of debt and poverty as a result of predatory loans.

Valuing Black Lives and Black Cities

Andre M. Perry’s Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities reveals the web of historical and contemporary socioeconomic barriers that maintain the racial wealth divide and does this through personal narrative, history, and an exploration of a wide array of social issues.

Q: Who Enforces CRA?

Why are there three different agencies enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, or CRA? Who does each agency enforce it on?

Stop Talking About the Racial Wealth Gap

It may seem counterintuitive, but in order to close the wealth gap, we must shift our focus from the gap itself to the policies, conditions, and systems that spawned it.

Why the Community Reinvestment Act Must Be Expanded Broadly Throughout the Financial Industry

The financial industry has been one of the main perpetrators of racial discrimination. It should be obligated to serve all communities, particularly communities of color.

Making Loans to Help Formerly Incarcerated People Get Back on Their Feet

CDFIs and nonprofits are figuring out how to help formerly incarcerated people build credit histories and access capital in order to get their lives going.
structural sinking boat

Financial Coaches, Let’s Be Upfront About Economic Structural Racism

Financial education messaging is too often presented as if individual behavior and attitudes are the cause of our growing economic challenges rather than our social, economic, and political systems.

Creative Ways to Finance Agriculture

In Montana, small family farms are disappearing at an alarming rate, and farmers and ranchers are unable to compete with giant agriculture mergers. But there are several ways to help improve the farmland accessibility issue.
A worker at Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, which recently secured new contracts for 3 million pounds of health care linens.

Building Prosperity—A Review of ‘The Making of a Democratic Economy’

A review of "The Making of a Democratic Economy: Building Prosperity for the Many, Not Just the Few," by Marjorie Kelly and Ted Howard
A deteriorated Brownsville home.

There Is an Emergency at the Border. It’s Poverty.

Targeted investments that address persistent poverty are necessary and should supersede financial support of a border wall.
redlining map and racial equity

Can Using a Racial Equity Lens Increase Capital in Communities of Color?

If CDFIs adopted traditional appraisal standards to determine loan amounts, they'd make very few loans in the communities they were founded to serve.
houses

Can Estate Planning be Used to Help Preserve Economic Assets in Low-Income Communities?

Estate planning should be employed as part of a broader plan of preservation of wealth and assets in communities of color. 
The cover of Generation Priced Out by Randy Shaw.

Millennials and the Affordability Crisis: A Review of Generation Priced Out

As tenant struggles become a bigger focus of activist recruitment, Randy Shaw’s new book, Generation Priced Out, is an essential organizing guide.
A woman leads a credit building class at Stephens Creek Crossing, a Hope 6 property owned and operated by Home Forward.

An Opportunity for Housing Providers to Help Renters Build Credit

Of the 987 low-income renters whose rents were reported through a pilot program, 79 percent saw their VantageScore increase by an average of 23 points, and 15 percent moved into a lower credit score risk tier.
CFPB exterior

A Message for CFPB’s Kathy Kraninger: Stand with People, Not Profits

The CFPB's new head must unequivocally stand with low-income communities of color and restore public trust.
graduation

Small Investments Can Yield Big Returns. Review of A Few Thousand Dollars

Over a dozen stories of how Americans from all different backgrounds have managed to leverage a few thousand dollars to lead lives that have helped thousands of other people, and strategies to reinvigorate a movement to influence asset building policy nationally.
home with for sale sign in foreground

Is the Housing Market the Answer to the Racial Wealth Gap?

In discussions around closing the racial wealth gap, we should be reminded that a very large portion of wealth gained by white Americans should be seen as ill-gotten.
physician takes blood pressure

Shelter Shorts, The Week in Community Development—Sept. 21

News from—and affecting—the community development world.
ladders

Measuring the Right Things: “Mobility from Poverty” Is More than Finances

How would you measure someone making progress toward escaping poverty? If you've been tuned in to the asset-building movement you might look at their accumulation of assets and preparation for a financial emergency. You might also want to look at cash flow. But can poverty-fighting be solely measured by money?
A home at the Dos Pinos Housing Cooperative, the only limited-equity housing co-op in Davis, California.

A Low-Cost Ownership Oasis in a Desert of Apartment Unaffordability

When this limited-equity cooperative in California began more than 30 years ago, it wasn’t the most affordable place to live. But now the co-op’s monthly costs are 50 percent lower than the average market-rate apartment.