Middle neighborhoods are neither the poorest nor the wealthiest neighborhoods in a city, typically experiencing neither precipitous decline nor rapid appreciation. In many cities, they account for a significant share of residents and are reasonably affordable to middle income households. This research brief examines conditions and trends in Philadelphia’s middle neighborhoods differentiated by their racial, ethnic, and national origin makeup. A deeper understanding of the dynamics at play in different types of middle neighborhoods can help guide policy and investment approaches to shore up the inherent strength in these areas, and also head off decline that could potentially diminish not only residents’ financial health and neighborhood quality of life, but also Philadelphia’s overall wellbeing.
Policy Solutions estimated gaps in access to high quality childcare with the support of the William Penn Foundation. The analysis used six different databases to estimate the universe of childcare establishments and capacity in Philadelphia (approximately 25% of which is not certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania). The Keystone STARS program, Pennsylvania’s QRIS, provided a metric of childcare quality along a one to four star scale. The methodology was designed and tested in Philadelphia in close consultation with a stakeholder group of 25+ subject matter experts (including policymakers, practitioners, investors, government officials and technical assistance providers).
Fund for Quality (FFQ) helps providers of high-quality early childhood education in Philadelphia reach more families. In 2015, Reinvestment Fund and PHMC created a survey to be administered for each new seat created through FFQ. This white paper presents preliminary findings related to the increased capacity of FFQ-supported providers, along with select survey responses from parents. These findings provide initial insights into the way FFQ support influences the local supply of high-quality care, the children occupying FFQsupported seats, parental preferences for care, and the overall demand for child care in the neighborhoods served by FFQ-supported providers.
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 2016, Reinvestment Fund conducted the Supply Chain Matrix (SCM) analysis for the red meat industry in New England. Reinvestment Fund originally developed the Supply Chain Matrix (SCM) in 2013 to better understand the food production system and identify opportunities at multiple stages in the food supply chain to promote access to healthy, sustainable food. With ongoing support from the Surdna Foundation, and in partnership with the Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society (MESAS) and Broad Reach Fund, the updated SCM was developed to analyze the red meat supply chain, with a particular focus on Maine. The SCM identified the existence of substantial gaps in the capacity of New England meat slaughtering and processing industries. The SCM is being used as a tool to provide actionable information for industry decision makers, local food advocates, and policy makers working to create efficiencies within local food markets.
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.