“We have seen, time and time again, how critical the financial stability services are to sustaining any other outcome that we are trying to achieve with our members. Whether that is moving out of the shelter or getting a job, financial capability is crucial to every piece of what CEF Members are striving towards, and influences whether people can ultimately reach their goals. We have also seen that when financial capability isn’t there in a meaningful way, it can really throw a stable outcome into flux.”
– Community Empowerment Fund
Funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., a new report by the Center for Community Capital provides an overview of the ways in which seven diverse and innovative organizations have begun to integrate financial capability services into their affordable housing programs.
The report, “Building a Strong Foundation: Integrating Financial Capability & Affordable Housing,” highlights commonalities and differences among the seven organizations, and documents how their approach is influenced by the needs in their communities and by their missions.
“With a focus on the types of services that are provided and the strategies for implementation, this report is meant to inform practitioners that are engaging in the integration of these services,” noted authors Lucy Gorham and Sonia Garrison.
“Financial instability limits opportunity for individuals and has negative consequences for the financial health of neighborhoods and communities,” said Gorham and Garrison. “Efforts to mitigate this instability by building households’ financial capability holds significant potential for improving overall financial security and increasing economic mobility.”
The report gives three main reasons for the integration of financial capability strategies for organizations providing affordable housing services: 1) stable and affordable housing is essential for financial security; 2) homeownership is often the largest asset that many individuals have in their lifetimes and can be a significant way to build wealth; and 3) the path to stable housing and/or homeownership often requires many steps that overlap and interact with other aspects of a household’s finances.
The seven organizations studied in the report included:
- CHN Housing Partners, Cleveland, Ohio
- The Resurrection Project, Chicago, Illinois
- Urban Upbound, The New York City Housing Authority and the Office of Financial Empowerment
- Community Empowerment Fund, Chapel Hill and Durham, North Carolina
- AHC Greater Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
- Mission Economic Development Agency, San Francisco, California
- Foundation Communities, Austin, Texas
The full report can be read here.
The Center for Community Capital, an independent research center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is an affiliate of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies.