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?

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.
We ask: What don't people who are getting rental assistance get a job? The Answer: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job!

Q: Why Don’t People Who Get Rental Assistance Get a Job?

A: More than half are elderly or disabled. Of the rest, most of them do have a job! Ninety-four percent of rental assistance receipts are ...
computer keyboard

Data Drives the Movement for Economic Justice

A government report concludes that residents of low- and moderate-income Census tracts have as much access to bank branches as residents in middle- and upper-income tracts in rural areas and large metropolitan areas. Yet access to bank services for low- and moderate-income consumers is still being lost. Why is that?
home with sold sign in front

Equitable Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership)

Talk of tax reform has reached a fever pitch, but most Americans don't realize just how high the stakes are and what impact the final legislation could have on their own financial security for years to come.
A key in focus

Despite Progress, States Have Work to do to Ensure Access to Affordable Rental Housing...

If expanding access to homeownership can reverse the trends of growing racial wealth inequality, why are we seeing so many states roll back the supports that make homeownership possible?
A blue and white Louisiana road sign.

After a Far Fall, Is Louisiana Becoming a Better Place for its Lower Income...

When the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard was published last month, it was no surprise that Louisiana ranked second-to-last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as it typically falls somewhere near the bottom. In many ways, the Scorecard confirmed what we already knew: that most Louisiana families, especially low-income families and families of color, are not faring well financially. What was surprising, however, was how far Louisiana had fallen.
This Opa-locka, Florida resident had his loan request approved based on his character and not his credit score.

When a Person’s Character Trumps Their Credit Score

Some CDFIs approve loans based on a person’s character instead of their credit score. But they only recommend doing so when you know the applicant.
Two employees of Grace Federal Solutions in North Carolina, an African-American man and woman, chat in the hallway of their offices. The company secured a loan from a CDFI.

CDFIs Led By People of Color Face Financial Disparities Too

A lack of access to capital, capacity-building resources, and technical assistance significantly constrains the ability of CDFIs led by people of color to achieve greater impact.
Business Hours sign on glass door.

Unstacking the Deck for African-American Entrepreneurs

The truth is most entrepreneurs’ firms don’t grow quickly, employ people, or earn much money. And, more importantly, entrepreneurial success has far less to do with exceptional skill than with one’s ability to weather repeated failure and financial loss.
Black computer enter key

SoFi, Not So Good: Is This Virtual Redlining?

SoFi is practicing product segregation. It wants to serve affluent people with its best products and shunt low- and moderate-income borrowers into inferior products that do not meaningfully serve credit needs.
Yellow sign reading 'Aloha.'

Reflecting and Planning Using a Community Wealth Building Lens

Over an organization’s 25 years in existence, how do staff and volunteers measure impact and build off of lessons learned to guide their next steps forward?
Small American flag with fringed edges attached to a wire stick.

Why Giving Up on Homeownership Is Giving In

These ideas aren’t new, but pulling them together in a collective, coherent way will push back against those who, like their predecessors of 80, 70, 60 and 50 years ago, would deny long-term stability to those for reasons more than just the color of their money.