Promoting Job Opportunity

Strategies for Community-Based Organizations When residents and merchants in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood formed the Fifth Avenue Committee (FAC) in the late 1970s to “do something” about their increasingly rubble-strewn neighborhood, they focused first on housing and commercial redevelopment. Through an anti-redlining campaign, the group won a commitment from Aetna insurance company to finance 170 […]

Moving Toward The Market

Nonprofit Enterprise In a Changing World The basic strategies for addressing the problem of homelessness in the United States have progressed from emergency shelter to affordable housing to housing with support services to housing with services and access to jobs. While many of those involved in this work used to feel the answer to homelessness […]

What if Everyone Had A Job?

When I read about efforts to build community, I continue to be struck by the fact that those who operate at the neighborhood level seem not to pay real attention to the economic world. They focus instead on building housing, having more and better services including shops, getting people to work together, and having more […]

Housing-Led Economic Development

Managing Housing Assets for Economic Development of Residents Nonprofit housing organizations have become significant producers of affordable housing, with more than 400,000 affordable units to their credit through 1993, according to an estimate from the National Congress for Community Economic Development. This means nonprofit landlords control millions of dollars each month in rents and rent […]

Program-Related Investments

As foundations and corporate funders search for new ways to extend their assets and increase the impact of their programs, a growing number have begun to provide financing through program-related investments (PRIs). A PRI, broadly defined, is a foundation investment to support a charitable project or activity involving the potential return of capital within an […]

Creating Stakeholders with Individual Development Accounts 

  Millions of Americans have built assets and improved their economic standing through higher education, business creation, and homeownership. Yet in order to engage in such efforts, most people need some savings or credit history. This fact of life keeps the door to opportunity shut for many low-income people. To help those for whom homeownership, […]

One Paycheck Away—A Family’s Path to Homelessness

When the Sjoblom family realized they might soon lose their home in Matawan, New Jersey, Diane Sjoblom found the National Coalition for the Homeless. Through email, letters, and telephone conversations, NCH reconstructed their journey into homelessness and ensuing efforts to find living wage employment to improve their situation.

One Solution Is…

Our nation is in the middle of a painful and divisive chicken and egg debate. As many troubled communities face devastatingly high unemployment rates, they are also experiencing rampant family dissolution – fatherless homes, babies having babies, children with no sense of values or of their own value. Some say that after years of disinvestment […]

All Organizing is Constant Re-organizing

In 1990, a manufacturing plant in San Antonio laid off more than 1,000 employees, most of them Mexican-American women with limited formal education. The local economy had already lost 14,000 of these medium wage jobs in manufacturing, textiles, transportation, and other industries during the 1980s. The layoffs affected families in nearly all of the 50 […]

Mark to Market Advances in HUD/VA Measure

With Section 8 contracts due to expire on over one million assisted and insured housing units during the next decade, Congress has proposed its second demonstration in two years concerning “mark to market” or “portfolio reengineering” of HUD-assisted properties. The program was incorporated in the recently adopted HUD/VA and Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill (HR 3666). […]

When in Doubt, Think

In the words of Gandhi, “If the cause is right, the means will come.” There are resources out there – in every community, however small and however poor. We need to begin to feel empowered to gain access to those resources for our causes. – Anne Firth Murray, Global Fund for Women This column is […]