The goal of Reinvestment Fund’s ReFresh initiative is to increase the capacity of the community development financial institution (CDFI) industry to fund healthy food projects by creating tools and resources, offering technical assistance, and helping peer organizations learn together. ReFresh has been an important partner as Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), headquartered in Denver, Colorado, has grown its portfolio of healthy food lending. In 2016, Reinvestment Fund and CEF collaborated to take a closer look at some of the ways that ReFresh has helped CEF grow its food lending capacity.
In 2016, Matthew Desmond published his truly extraordinary study of evictions in Milwaukee, WI titled Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Inspired by Desmond’s work we at Reinvestment Fund decided to examine the eviction issue in Philadelphia, PA. This brief includes an overview of select housing market data in Philadelphia followed by a summary of the eviction filings: rates, patterns and areas for further inquiry into the eviction issue in the city of Philadelphia. Eviction filing records for this brief cover the period 2010-2015, inclusive, and originate with Philadelphia’s Landlord-Tenant Court (LTC).
In 2013, Reinvestment Fund developed the Supply Chain Matrix (SCM) to better understand the food production system. The SCM represented an initial step for Reinvestment Fund’s food lending to use data-driven decision making to identify opportunities at multiple stages in the food supply chain to promote access to healthy, sustainable food.
With support from the William Penn and Surdna Foundations, the initial SCM was developed and tested in the Southeastern PA meat industry.1 Results from the initial SCM were shared with experts in food research, practitioners in the meat industry, and other stakeholders to refine the methodology and understand its potential application by meat producers, processors, retailers, and policy makers in the industry.
Across the country, food banks are looking at their mission through a number of new lenses: health, education and technical assistance, farming, economic and workforce development, business enterprise, and community empowerment and advocacy. Feeding the Line, Or Ending the Line? Innovations among Food Banks in the United States, a new report by Reinvestment Fund and Bank of America looks at how food banks are adopting a variety of approaches within each of these categories to feed the hungry and permanently end food insecurity.
A study by Reinvestment Fund and May 8 consulting to understand how the scattered site rehabilitation of more than 1,100 affordable housing units has impacted the West Philadelphia neighborhoods in which they are located, and determine whether the approach offers cost efficiencies or revitalizing impacts that differ from developments that produced a similar number of affordable units on a single site. The study focuses on affordable rental housing units constructed by two private sector developers, WPRE and Neighborhood Restorations. The projects used Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and private financing. The houses are located in some of area’s most economically distressed blocks. The developments led to a direct investment of more than $160 million in West Philadelphia.
This paper examines the growing range of development models from projects that integrate two or more sectors. Integrated projects are increasingly a strategy used to deliver deeper impact to low-income communities by connecting a range of critical components from mixed-income housing to health centers to grocery stores. These innovative, emerging models combine people and place-based strategies, and often require more flexibility and technical support to move forward than the typical capital project. Co-authored by Reinvestment Fund and Low Income Investment Fund, the publication features Reinvestment Fund’s investments in the Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services project in Philadelphia, Vicente’s Supermarket in Brockton and Paseo Verde in Philadelphia. The publication was made possible through generous support from The Kresge Foundation.
Reinvestment Fund contributed to a new book titled On the Edge: America’s Middle Neighborhoods. Published by The American Assembly, a collection of authors present new evidence indicating that a category of neighborhoods exists in many cities and surrounding areas that planners and policymakers have neglected. These “middle neighborhoods” are generally affordable neighborhoods with acceptable levels of public safety and schools, but they are in danger of falling into decline if left to market forces. A shrinking middle class, the suburbanization of jobs, obsolete housing styles, and a decline in homeownership rates clouds the future of these middle neighborhoods. Written by Ira Goldstein, William Schrecker and Jacob L. Rosch, our chapter in the publication looks at the demographics and characteristics of middle neighborhoods in select legacy cities. For more on the book, visit middleneighborhoods.org.
High-quality early learning experiences support positive child development and help prepare children for success in school and beyond. Quality child care is also critical for families, as it allows parents to maintain employment. To better understand gaps in the supply of child care, and high-quality care in particular, Reinvestment Fund conducted a study of the supply and demand for child care in Newark to identify underserved areas. Findings from the analysis are provided in this report. With support from the Foundation for Newark’s Future (FNF), Reinvestment Fund created an interactive web-based tool based on this analysis, accessible at newarkchildcaremap.org, which shows the supply of and demand for childcare.
In Baltimore, Reinvestment Fund is developing a strategy to target investment in the arts to low-income communities in Central Baltimore, where it can catalyze and build on other complementary efforts. For one year, our Creative Placemaking Fellow, Rebecca Chan, was charged with the task of developing best practices for financing the arts in distressed neighborhoods in ways that build community among both new and existing residents. The following is the final in a four-part series on her work. Parts 1 and 2 spotlighted the artists and artist-driven activity that is happening in and around Baltimore, as well as the physical spaces and neighborhoods in which this activity thrives. Part 3 looks at ways in which shifts in policies and programs might help move the needle on arts-based development. In this fourth part, we hone in on strategies for investing in the physical spaces–arts and cultural infrastructure–that serve as sites for arts and cultural activity, and ideally build on and complement broader community development efforts in a neighborhood.
Artists value the process of remaking space and help reveal the potential for recovery inherent in many urban neighborhoods. In both the redevelopment of discrete buildings and incremental renewal of large districts, they provide entrepreneurial energy to the task of preserving something old through the development of something new.
In Baltimore, Reinvestment Fund is developing a strategy to target investment in the arts to low-income communities in Central Baltimore, where it can catalyze and build on other complementary efforts. For one year, our Creative Placemaking Fellow, Rebecca Chan, was charged with the task of developing best practices for financing the arts in distressed neighborhoods in ways that build community among both new and existing residents. The following is the third in a four-part series on her work. Parts 1 and 2 spotlighted the artists and artist-driven activity that is happening in and around Baltimore, as well as the physical spaces and neighborhoods in which this activity thrives. Part 3 looks at ways in which shifts in policies and programs might help move the needle on arts-based development