Leaders in community and economic development have teamed to provide dozens of ideas for building healthy places to live and improving economic prosperity for families.
In “Investing in What Works for America’s Communities,” experts from affordable housing and other sectors contribute essays providing specific suggestions for community development and neighborhood transformation. Published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), the book is available at www.whatworksforamerica.org.
“Poverty affects us all, regardless of where we live?it’s not just a housing problem or an education problem or an employment problem. It’s all of the above and more,” said Nancy O. Andrews, president and CEO of LIIF, a nonprofit community development financial institution based in San Francisco. “And we need to take steps now to address this crisis especially for our children. We know that the obstacles children encounter early in life can create a negative chain of events that is often passed down to new generations. We can’t afford to waste these lives if we are to have a strong economy that lifts everyone up for the future.”
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, teamed with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for an essay titled “Fighting Poverty Through Community Development.”
Other contributors include Sister Lillian Murphy and Janet Falk of Mercy Housing, who write about the need for a new sustainable financing model for affordable housing.
“A new approach is necessary if we are to continue to progress toward meeting the country’s housing and community development needs,” they say. “Government programs, capital markets, and philanthropic foundations must change the way they perceive affordable housing production, in order to create new models that will be sustainable over the long term. The primary paradigm shift necessary will involve developing a system that allows housing developers with a holistic, community approach to housing, including the commitment to long-term ownership, to get to scale.”
The book’s release comes on the heels of a new Census Bureau report that shows the national poverty rate remaining stuck at 15 percent.
“We realize there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to poverty. Our hope is that the ideas in this book will spur new ways of thinking and collaboration that will empower everyday people and lift up their neighborhoods,” said David Erickson, director of the Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “Just as the nature of poverty has changed, those of us working to address poverty need to continue to evolve to help transform both people’s lives and the places where they live.”