Innovative Projects Integrate Affordable Housing into Asset-Building Strategies
CFED Newsletter: February 2012
There is growing interest across the country from innovative affordable housing providers in integrating asset building and other financial services into their affordable housing programs. As a pioneer and leader in asset building, CFED is being tapped to help structure financial programs and services in affordable housing programs that encourage low-income families to increase their level of financial literacy, improve their access to financial services and build assets.
CFED has long been engaged in one particular niche in the affordable housing marketplace – helping owners of manufactured housing take advantage of factory-built housing’s affordability, while also accessing the opportunity to build wealth in a way that more closely resembles the experience of owners of site-built housing. CFED began broadening its engagement in the housing field in 2011 through outreach and discussion with a number of housing organizations, including several innovative public housing authorities, a HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant Awardee and the largest community development intermediary in the U.S.:
- The Cambridge Housing Authority in Massachusetts and the Tacoma Housing Authority in Washington State are both Moving to Work (MTW) participants and national leaders in affordable housing innovation. MTW gives unprecedented flexibility to public housing authorities to innovate. In 2012, CFED will be assisting both organizations with their efforts to integrate financial security programs within their housing programs. Exciting new ideas include efforts to get public housing residents banked, as well as the creation of a student Individual Development Account (IDA) – a special savings account that allows young residents to earn deposits by achieving personal and/or academic goals.
- The Boston-based organization – Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) – recently was granted a HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant for their work in the Woodlawn public housing development in Chicago. CFED is currently exploring numerous ways to assist POAH as they seek to fulfill the promise of the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. Building on HOPE VI, Choice Neighborhoods seeks to provide support for the preservation and rehabilitation of public and HUD-assisted housing within the context of a broader approach to concentrated poverty that addresses basic services, schools, public assets, transportation and access to jobs.
- CFED continues our engagement with Enterprise Community Partners and is exploring new areas of partnership. Through a recent contract with HUD, Enterprise is working with a wide range of housing authorities on troubled projects, institutions and initiatives. CFED looks forward to working with Enterprise on embedding asset building as part of proposed turnaround strategies.
CFED believes that using housing as a platform for delivering financial security programs and systems has the power to change the trajectory of the lives of low-income families and children. We’re excited about working with such innovative partners in 2012 and are encouraged by the growing acceptance of a more holistic and integrated approach that has implications for a variety of platforms beyond housing.
To learn more about CFED’s affordable housing initiatives, click here.
- Assets and the Poor: Twenty Years Later (scoppcanton.wordpress.com)