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, is 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. What follows is the first in a 3-part series on her work. This work is supported by The Kresge and Surdna Foundations’ Catalyzing Culture and Community through CDFIs, or C4, a joint initiative intended to help support and expand CDFIs involvement in creative placemaking.
In 2014, the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation engaged Reinvestment Fund and Success Measures at NeighborWorks America to jointly evaluate the impact of its grantmaking and related programs from 2003 to 2013, to determine if practices in its approach could be transferred to other regions, and to assess its influence in the field. The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation has a well-established continuum of grantmaking and technical-assistance programs designed to improve the quality of life for children and families living in low-income communities in eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey. The evaluation examined lessons from 140 grants, totaling $41.69 million, that enabled hundreds of projects in the region and leveraged $231.5 million in direct and indirect neighborhood investment.
While many census tracts in Camden were eligible for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2), the City of Camden elected to focus its investment activities on a few target areas. Working with The Reinvestment Fund, the City of Camden sought to first understand market conditions and, depending on the causes of market stress, deploy specific strategies to address the issues plaguing its neighborhoods.
Presentation by Ira Goldstein, Reinvestment Fund’s President of Policy Solutions, to the Jefferson Education Society in Erie, PA on CDFIs, lending, research & practice.
Study examines the long-term impact of the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) on rural grocery stores. With support provided by the Convergence Partnership Fund of Tides Foundation, Reinvestment Fund collected qualitative and quantitative data from FFFI-financed stores in counties in the northern and southwest/south central parts of Pennsylvania. Information gathered from store owners include how FFFI financing had affected their ability to access credit, stay in business, carry new lines of products (including fresh foods and produce) and stimulate economic activity in their communities.
A summary overview of TRF’s 2014 analysis of Limited Supermarket Access (LSA). The analysis offers a look at the national landscape of access to healthy food as of 2014 and changes in the underserved population since 2005. The analysis is part of TRF’s extensive efforts to address the inadequate and inequitable access to healthy foods in communities across the country. The 2014 study updated the clustering methodology to ensure more accurate and consistent results. According to TRF’s study, 20 million people (or 7% of the population) nationwide live in LSA areas, a decrease of over 16 million people (or 45%) from 2005, when 36 million people (or 12% of the population) lived in LSA areas. The 2014 LSA data is accessible on policymap.com.
Six years after the Mortgage Foreclosure Diversion Program’s inception, Philadelphia homeowners continue to face many challenges. Unemployment remains elevated, and the incomes for middle class households, in real terms, have fallen. The rise of mortgage products like the reverse mortgage has the potential to threaten homeownership and equity for vulnerable populations. The Diversion Program remains one of the central protections for all Philadelphia homeowners—especially for the vulnerable populations.
In Philadelphia, the Department of Licenses and Inspections has engaged in a novel and geographically targeted enforcement effort utilizing a 2010 Pennsylvania law (PA Act 90) combined with the city’s property and maintenance code. The Reinvestment Fund was asked by the Data Collaborative, a group of nonprofit housing and community development proponents funded by the William Penn Foundation, to assess the effectiveness of the city’s strategy. The report compares areas of enforcement to areas with similar real estate market characteristics (based on several indicators of market strength), but without targeted enforcement. The report found that this strategy led to a 32% increase in residential real estate sale price near enforcement activities, compared to 2% in similar areas, and a reduction in tax delinquency in targeted areas versus an increase in similar areas.
This report examines programs that aim to influence individual food choices, provides context to understand the related issues and presents a summary of evidence-based strategies that encourage healthy shopping and eating habits in populations for whom the issue of access has been resolved. Through a review of the relevant literature this document summarizes research findings, offers recommendations for further research—with particular focus on intervention strategies within the personal food environment—and highlights programs that, based on the literature, we think have promise. This research was funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation under its Civic Sites initiative.