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?

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.
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?

Financial Inclusion Begins With Our Tax Code

Changes to the tax code, and tax programs that support low-wage earners, will strengthen gains made in the asset-building field.
physician takes blood pressure

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

News from—and affecting—the community development world.

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.

Q: Who Enforces CRA?

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

A Stubborn Gap

The difference in aggregate home value between blacks and whites in the American South has remained startlingly steady through periods of dramatic social change.

In LA, a New Resource to Pull Families Back From the Financial Brink

Regardless of income level, a family that is just getting by is locked in a state of stress and vulnerability.
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.
A ripple in water.

The Ripple Effects of Income Volatility

Research shows a connection between the financial instability of families and the economic health of communities.
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.
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?

Context for the Racial Wealth Divide May Free American Minds, and Mindsets

Black people were excluded from many of the income and wealth-building programs that helped build the foundation of white Americans’ wealth today.

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.

Breaking Asset Poverty: Better Homeownership—and More

Rather than abandoning homeownership as an asset-building strategy the next administration must pursue alternative strategies: bringing back “good homeownership,” supporting quality affordable rental housing, and developing other ways to help families of modest means invest for themselves and their future.
A high school graduate who saved for college with the help of FUEL Education, now called Inversant.

In Which a Skeptic Is Won Over to Child Savings Accounts

While I am a firm believer in equal access to higher education for all, it’s over-emphasized in our individualistic culture as a solution to society’s woes.
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.
The summer 2016 cover of Shelterforce magazine, an illustration of a man climbing up orange colored stairs.

Being “Well,” Financially

What does it take to achieve financial security for the millions of American households without it? Clearly full employment, higher wages, and a more robust safety net would be some major components. But as important as those are, they aren’t the full picture. Assets are an important counterweight to income.
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?