The latest perspectives, news, success stories and resources from around the organization.
Over the past quarter century, social scientists have taken a renewed interest in neighborhood ecology. The term ecometrics describes the empirical investigation of neighborhood effects. We take an “ecometric” approach to examine two contemporary phenomena—involuntary residential movement (household eviction) and the concentration of cultural assets within neighborhoods—to examine how they might influence individual dimensions of social wellbeing and patterns of social wellbeing across Philadelphia.
March 2020 was a precarious time for childcare businesses in Pennsylvania and across the US. In response to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. This report provides an overview of the Philadelphia Emergency Fund for the Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE) program and its accomplishments to-date. The report highlights how emergency resources administered through PEFSEE helped stabilize provider.
The release of 2020 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data provide an opportunity to look at the local mortgage lending environment – trends in loan volume, the kinds of loans being made, where loans are made, how efficiently different groups can access credit, and how key features of originated mortgages vary across different racial groups in Philadelphia.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the affordable housing landscape in New Orleans, and how can policymakers respond? This report by Reinvestment Fund reviews demographic, economic, and housing market data prior to and immediately following the start of the pandemic, as well as interviews with local experts and stakeholders. The report concludes with a set of geographically targeted policy recommendations.
Since April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the evictions moratorium have drastically reduced Landlord-Tenant court activity, allowing Philadelphia renters to stay in their homes during a period when an eviction would subject them to risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
Fair housing law is an essential tool to achieving racial and economic integration and realizing the attendant benefits for all types of communities. This brief draws on structured interviews conducted by Reinvestment Fund and the University of Pennsylvania with former officials at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), local housing officials in New Orleans, Houston, Kansas City (MO), Indianapolis, and Philadelphia, and fair housing experts and advocates.
Since 2014, Reinvestment Fund’s Fund for Quality (FFQ) and Early Childhood Education Loan Fund (ECE-LF) have been making investments to support the expansion of high-quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) opportunities throughout Philadelphia. From 2014 to 2019, the FFQ and ECE-LF have supported 51 projects at 46 unique centers, which have created or preserved 3,246 ECE high-quality seats across the city. These seats serve a diverse population of high-need families across the city.
Reinvestment Fund’s research report provides new insight into how many Black and Hispanic renters in Philadelphia face an eviction filing compared to other racial and ethnic groups. While previous research has documented the persistent, statistically significant effect of Census tract-level racial composition on filing volume, this is the first look at the racial and ethnic characteristics of the universe of residential eviction defendants.
A research brief by Reinvestment Fund and the Housing Initiative at Penn (HIP) that examines the experiences and perspectives of residential rental property owners and managers in Philadelphia. The brief examines challenges that landlords faced—including how they dealt with evictions—prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; new or increased difficulties stemming from the pandemic; and landlords’ engagement with and attitudes towards programs aimed at stabilizing tenants in rental housing.
Reinvestment Fund and its partners – the City of Philadelphia Office of Children and Families, Public Health Management Corporation and United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey – surveyed parents who have used or intend to use childcare in Philadelphia.
In 2019, the city of Mount Vernon partnered with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Tolemi, and Reinvestment Fund through the Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement initiative (Cities RISE) to begin implementing a strategic code enforcement system guided by robust data and market analytics.
In 2019 Policy Solutions partnered with Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) to conduct a study of historical patterns of homeownership rates for different racial/ethnic groups throughout the 21st century. The study findings highlight the ongoing persistence of gaps in White and non-White homeownership throughout Pennsylvania.
Reinvestment Fund completed a study of the City of Cleveland’s residential tax abatement program. The study examined 15 years of abatement activity to identify patterns of where abatement activity has been most concentrated, to understand the fiscal impacts the abatement has had on local tax revenues, and to identify opportunities to update the program in response to contemporary market conditions in the city.
Across the country, 17.3 million rural U.S. residents lack equitable access to supermarkets. Reinvestment Fund’s new Rural Food Access Investment Area (RFAIA) analysis, uses 2012-2106 Census data to determine 11.3 million underserved rural residents live in areas that could support new or expanded food retail options. Despite the need for improved access to fresh and healthy foods in rural areas, many analyses of food access—and many investments to improve food access—have focused on urban areas.
Each year, the federal government releases a comprehensive database on mortgage lending activities across the US based on activity reported by lending institutions under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). This year, there were a number of changes to the database; some changes from 2015 revisions expanded what we can know about mortgage applications (e.g., the age of borrowers) and other 2017-era changes limited that knowledge (e.g., suppressing applicant credit information). Read the report to see what the data reveals about mortgage lending activity in Philadelphia.
On April 9 – 10, Reinvestment Fund and the City of Kansas City, Missouri hosted the second Market Value Analysis Community of Practice (COP) convening. The COP brought together representatives from cities and organizations from around the country who use Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis (MVA) to inform community and economic development activities in their communities. This brief presents a summary of the panels, discussions, and key learnings from the event.
A working paper exploring the Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH) phenomenon. The paper derives learnings from interviews conducted with practitioners, funders, developers and policymakers. Those learnings are also rooted in data on the NOAH stock and the types of markets wherein NOAH seems to be most effectively created. The paper concludes with a thought experiment about how the power of the market could be harnessed to support the production and preservation of NOAH for modest-income households in a way that is both responsive to the realities of the housing market in general as well as to local market conditions.
Throughout its history, the Pennsylvania’s HEMAP has received great acclaim for its design and impact. HEMAP is a program that was designed to provide temporary assistance to families who, through not fault of their own, were seriously delinquent with their home mortgage. Reinvestment Fund released a Research Brief titled “What if Pennsylvania Had Not Had HEMAP?” in 2012. At the time, Pennsylvania, like much of the United States, was climbing out of the throes of one of the most significant recessions in our nation’s history.
With support from the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program™, Reinvestment Fund conducted a first-of-its-kind study to estimate the supply of and demand for care specifically for the infant and toddler sector in Philadelphia. Combining a citywide provider survey and focus groups with providers from center- and home-based settings, this study sought to estimate the shortage of infant and toddler care across the city and to learn more about the providers offering infant and toddler care as well as the barriers that prevent other providers from entering the infant and toddler care market.
In 2014, with support from The William Penn Foundation, Reinvestment Fund conducted an initial analysis of the supply of and demand for child care in Philadelphia to identify areas of the city where targeted investments could help address shortages of high-quality child care. Reinvestment Fund’s 2018 childcare analysis provides estimates to track the change over time in the supply of, demand for, and shortages in child care.
In 2017, Reinvestment Fund conducted an initial analysis of the supply of and demand for child care in the five-county metro Atlanta region (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties), to identify areas where targeted investments could help address shortages of high-quality child care. In addition, an interactive web-based tool, the ATL ACCESS Map: Atlanta Child Care and Early Learning Supply, was created to present the results of this analysis.
This report, developed with support from the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation, presents the results of descriptive and spatial analyses of the child care landscape in the five-county region in 2018 and includes analysis of changes observed since the initial 2017 study.
Across the United States, communities are struggling with the challenges associated with neighborhood decline. Practitioners and policymakers are beginning to realize that the task is oftentimes more difficult when the communities facing these challenges are in older suburban areas where: (a) poverty is an increasingly prevalent issue; and (b) the resources and expertise to manage issues associated with poverty and disinvestment that exists in cities are less prevalent.
A new analysis commissioned by the Bainum Family Foundation and conducted by Reinvestment Fund provides the first comprehensive look at what the District of Columbia has, and what it lacks, in terms of early learning capacity and quality — and which parts of the community are most affected by existing gaps.
Despite gains over the past decade, limited access to healthy food continues to affect urban and rural communities across the United States. Financing the construction of new supermarkets and the expansion of existing stores is one of the primary strategies to increase access to sources of healthy food in underserved communities. Reinvestment Fund’s Limited Supermarket Access (LSA) analysis is a tool to help investors and policymakers identify areas across the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia that have both inadequate and inequitable access to healthy food and sufficient market demand for new or expanded food retail operations.
From 2009 through 2016, Philadelphia was one of the most active reverse mortgage lending markets in the nation. With support from the City of Philadelphia, Reinvestment Fund collected and analyzed data on the frequency, terms and geographic distribution of reverse mortgages. This lending analysis was supplemented with in-depth interviews conducted with Philadelphia homeowners, and their heirs, who obtained a reverse mortgage and subsequently experienced a foreclosure – something they never thought possible. Interviews focused on borrowers’ experiences, from the moment they first contemplated a reverse mortgage through the point that they experienced a foreclosure filing, and then through the resolution of that foreclosure process. This work is part of a larger investigation into the potential fair housing implications of reverse mortgage lending in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
High-quality early care and learning supports positive development and helps prepare children for success in school and beyond. Quality child care is also critical for families, as it allows parents to maintain employment. With support from the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Reinvestment Fund conducted a study of the supply of and demand for child care in the five-county metro Atlanta region (Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties).
In 2014, with support from The William Penn Foundation, Reinvestment Fund conducted an initial analysis of the supply of and demand for child care in Philadelphia to identify areas of the city where targeted investments could help address shortages of high-quality child care. Now in its third update, Reinvestment Fund’s 2017 childcare analysis provides updated estimates to track the change over time in the supply of, demand for, and shortages in child care. This report presents the results of descriptive and spatial analyses of the child care landscape in Philadelphia in 2017. It details both short- and long-term changes in the supply of, demand for, and gaps in care; the year-to-year changes from 2016 to 2017, as well as shifts since the first analyses were conducted in 2014.
Each year, lending institutions across the country report their mortgage lending activity under a law known as the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Enacted by Congress in 1975 and amended several times since, HMDA data are a critical resource to understand how dollars flow into communities to support home purchasing, refinancing mortgages, or making home improvements. Regulators use HMDA for various purposes, which include assessments of lenders’ community reinvestment obligations and adherence to civil rights laws.
The 2016 HMDA data were recently released providing an opportunity to look at the local mortgage lending environment – trends in loan volume, the kinds of loans being made, where loans are made, how efficiently different groups can access credit, what entities purchase the home loans once made, and what lenders are originating mortgages in Philadelphia.
Since 2014, Reinvestment Fund has conducted an annual analysis of the gap between the supply of and demand for high-quality child care in Philadelphia. In June 2017 Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), Keystone STARS, initiated changes to the standards for childcare providers across the state.
For families, schools play an important role in residential decisions. This study examined the relationship between home values and school performance to measure the way schools contribute to home prices in Pennsylvania.
In 2016, Reinvestment Fund conducted a study of the supply of and demand for early childhood education (ECE) in Passaic County, NJ. Adapting a methodology developed for a 2014 study of child care in Philadelphia, the study results for Passaic County, NJ suggest that over half of all ECE (57%) is provided in state licensed childcare centers, and 27% is provided in high-quality centers. With support from the Nicholson Foundation and Taub Foundation, Reinvestment Fund created an interactive web-based tool to present the results of this analysis, accessible at www.passaiccountychildcaremap.org.
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.
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.
In 2014, Reinvestment Fund conducted an initial analysis of the supply of and demand for child care in Philadelphia to identify areas of the city where targeted investments could help address shortages of highquality child care. Reinvestment Fund’s 2016 childcare analysis provides estimates to track the change over time in the supply of, demand for, and shortages in child care. The 2016 analysis was the third in the series of analysis by Reinvestment Fund.
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.