April 2011

Community Development in Practice - Volume 23, Issue 1

This issue of Community Investments focuses on community development practice–what are some emerging ideas for programs and policies that can help lower-income communities rebuild after the recession, and what do we know about their effectiveness? The issue profiles two new efforts to improve consumers’ financial decisions, including a lottery-based savings account for youth and a nonprofit check cashing outlet. It also highlights new research on shared equity homeownership programs, local strategies for responding to investor purchases of distressed properties, and the early implementation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System. Material herein may be reprinted or abstracted provided Community Investments is credited. Please provide our Community Development Department with a copy of any publication in which material is reprinted.

Read the full issue (pdf, 4.18 mb)

Table of Contents

CI Notebook

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the nation’s economy began to grow again in June of 2009, ending an 18-month recession that was the longest on record since the Great Depression. Yet low-income communities across the 12th District remain in economic crisis, struggling with the compounding effects of unemployment, foreclosures, and neighborhood disinvestment.

Prize Linked Accounts for Youth (PLAY): A New Approach to Youth Financial Education and Savings

Mission SF Community Financial Center, a nonprofit affiliate of the Mission SF Federal Credit Union in San Francisco, CA, has developed an innovative approach to teaching youth financial education and encouraging youth to save by awarding a prize linked to their savings behavior.

Community Perspectives: Community Check Cashing

In May of 2009, Community Development Finance opened the first nonprofit, full-service check cashing store in the country in Fruitvale, California. Daniel Leibsohn shares the lessons learned from the first two years of operation.

A Promising Way Forward for Homeownership: Assessing the Benefits of Shared Equity Programs

In the wake of the foreclosure crisis, what programs can help low-income families become homeowners in a sustainable way? Shared equity programs offer one model, successfully balancing both affordability and asset building goals.

When Investors Buy Up the Neighborhood: Preventing Investor Ownership from Causing Neighborhood Decline

A look at the best practices and promising approaches being used in communities to prevent irresponsible investor ownership from leading to neighborhood decline.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program: Strategically Targeting Public Investments

The foreclosure crisis has played out differently in different housing markets. Learn how the federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program strategically targets funding to ensure that interventions are aligned with local conditions.

Research Briefs

Research briefs on small business and job creation, financial literacy and wealth, and suburban gentrification.

Doctor CRA

The last time we heard from you, you mentioned that there were some new rules that were pending on how the CRA might be changed to accommodate the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. My bank has been active in the program and I’ve got a CRA exam around the corner. I need help right away!

Data Snapshot: The Housing and Mortgage Market

Trends in serious delinquent mortgages in the 12th district, FHA loans and purchases by first-time homebuyers, and percent change in house values, January 2007 – November 2010.