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?

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.
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.

Not All Asian Elderly Are Well Off

Too many of us have the misconception that elderly Asian Americans live a charmed life that is financially secure with strong family ties. This isn’t accurate.

Keeping Justice in Mind as We Talk Asset-Building

I attended my first ever Assets Learning Conference, put on by CFED last week, and I have to say it was mighty impressive. And I was particularly pleased to see that economic justice and things like reforming the tax code to be less regressive and reward savings by low- and middle-income Americans, rather than mostly […]

Is Rags to Riches the Right Measure?

Comparative income quintiles don’t tell us very much about the material conditions of people’s lives. When someone rises into the top fifth, someone else falls into the bottom fifth.

How Does Mobile Banking Affect the Unbanked?

The absence of bank branches and the proliferation of high-priced alternative lenders in the region only underscore the importance of access to affordable financial services.
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.

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.

Does the Current Reliance on Credit Scores Deny Deserving Applicants?

Last week, we asked readers if credit scores were too much of a driver in home loan approval. You answered overwhelmingly that yes, credit...
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?

The Fight for Full-Time Work in San Jose

Unpredictable hours lead to unpredictable cash flow, which is a barrier to budgeting and saving. One response to this, the Opportunity to Work Initiative, would require that San Jose employers give more hours to part-time employees before hiring new staff.
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?

From the Social Welfare State to the Social Investment State

The welfare state at the start of the 21st century appears to be in the midst of a transformation. The original consensus was that,...
A woman and man stand together smiling in front of their new home in North Carolina. They received a loan not based on credit scores, but on character.

Challenging the Almighty Credit Score

A majority of mainstream lenders base loan approvals on a hotly debated three-digit score. Are there better, fairer ways to assess risk?
physician takes blood pressure

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

News from—and affecting—the community development world.

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.

Well Worth the Read

Reading What It’s Worth was like walking through one of the glorious Asset Learning Conferences that CFED organizes, equipped with a magical Harry Potter wand that allows me to stop and re-work time so I can peer into each workshop at my leisure.
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.

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.

Homeownership Without a Net

Despite some new reforms, low-income households buying homes outside the traditional mortgage market are still at tremendous risk—and often legal limbo.

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