Organizing Improves Mental Health

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
In This Issue: Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership) ● Gentrification Welcome Here ● Mortgage Interest Deduction Changes ● CDFI Rental Housing Rebound ● Organizing Improves Mental Health ● Also: Jobs ● Resources ● Industry News +
Miriam Axel-Lute, Shelterforce
Dawn Belkin Martinez is a clinical social worker and professor at Boston University School of Social Work. For many years she has worked closely with the housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana, and explored the ways that social justice, organizing, and mental health interact. We talked with her to hear more about what she’s learned and how it could be more broadly applied.

Martinez: I was involved in organizing way before I was a social worker. I could see from my work in the Southwest that people’s personal problems were directly related to the cultural messages they were receiving about race and class and gender and all those sorts of things, and then the institutions that they interfaced with. What I observed was . . .
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David Newville, Doug Ryan, and David Meni, Prosperity Now
For most Americans, the biggest single source of wealth is their homes, and the Mortgage Interest Deduction is one of the largest sources of government spending on housing and homeownership. In 2014, the Mortgage Interest Deduction cost the treasury more than $70 billion. In contrast, the entire Housing & Urban Development budget for 2017 was just under $44 billion.

For that much money, you would think that the Mortgage Interest Deduction would be a huge driver for homeownership and support for the middle class, but . . .
Ira Goldstein and Michael Norton, Reinvestment Fund
Now is the perfect time to consider whether some part of the savings from the home Mortgage Interest Deduction limit could be allocated to provide additional financial resources to this ever-growing segment of the population . . .
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Bill Bynum, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union
For nearly a quarter of a century, we have been chipping away at the barriers people here face just to access the basics—a bank account, healthy food, quality schools, and affordable health care. Capital has never come into this region at a level that brings communities anywhere close to gentrifying transformation. We are not facing an influx of hipsters in the Mississippi Delta.

While I agree with my colleague about the importance of ensuring that low-income residents and other vulnerable populations are not displaced by economic prosperity, this challenge is . . .
Stacie Young, Preservation Compact at the Community Investment Corporation
Michael Altheimer, a responsible developer committed to working in difficult markets on the south side of Chicago, had always focused his work on multifamily buildings. After the housing crash, there was an increased demand for rental housing, and he saw opportunities in the many vacant 1- to 4-unit buildings. And yet, he was hesitant to move into the 1–4 market. "One to fours can be more difficult than larger properties," he explains. "Add that many of these buildings were stuck in foreclosure, and how hard it was to find financing … I would have never bothered with these buildings."

That is, until a CDFI collaborative made it worth his while . . . 
Wed., Dec. 6, 3 p.m. ET ● Using Data to Support Organizing and Policy Advocacy ● Thousands of people in dozens of cities across the country participated in this year’s #RenterWeekofAction. The National Equity Atlas team partnered with Right to the City to create 38 fact sheets highlighting renter economic power and what cities gain by ensuring renter affordability. This webinar will examine the fact sheets and how they helped support and amplify the message of the actions.
Industry News
Mindy Fullilove, the author of Root Shock and Urban Alchemy and a Shelterforce contributor, has taken a new position as a professor of urban policy and health at the New School. Fullilove, a psychiatrist, was previously a professor of public health at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University.
The Center for Community Investment has announced the 12 members of its first class of Fulcrum Fellows. The Fulcrum Fellowship—a 15-month program for rising leaders in the fields of population health, climate resilience, community development, urban planning, and community investment—is designed to position fellows to help disinvested communities achieve their environmental, social, and economic priorities.
Gentrification and Displacement"Gentrification Explained" and "Pushed Out" are two short videos from the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, Urban Displacement Project, and Great Communities Collaborative. The videos present in simple terms—ideal for a community presentation—what gentrification is, how it may lead to displacement, and a range of strategies that public, private, and nonprofit sector stakeholders can use to foster more inclusive and equitable regional growth.
The Place DatabaseThis free, interactive database created by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and PolicyMap allows users to visualize a broad array of indicators—such as housing prices, incomes, open space, or zoning and land use regulations, to name a few—revealing new insights on the makeup of states, cities, towns, and neighborhoods throughout the United States.
Financial Health of Residents ● The financial health of a city is closely intertwined with that of its residents. Urban Institute's data dashboard provides a unique snapshot of residents’ financial health, including credit bureau data, to tell the story of city financial health.
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You Said It!

Thanks so much for this article! I’ve been making the same point here in the Bay Area where we hear a growing chorus of "trickle down" voices advocating for deregulation to "free up the market" and who say that if we just expand supply, everything will be better. Thanks also for . . . —Jeff Levin, more

I think this practice you criticize of analyzing data for others' good is prevalent across planning and related disciplines: we grade our streets based on the level of congestion, as if more congestion is a sign that the street has failed; we zone properties down to . . . —Christopher Lazaro, more

Thoughtful piece. Especially liked the warning about creating combined measures of "opportunity" and the point about the different geographic scales of access (schools vs transit e.g.) that are often . . . —Dan Immergluck, more

I share the concerns that this focus on opportunity will allow sustained disinvestment in low-income and/or areas with large non-white populations instead of supporting those neighborhoods to invest in the strengths that they have, which could include affordable housing, transit networks, proximity to certain job clusters . . . —Emma Petrie Barcelone, more

With the matrix approach, you are offering a valuable alternative to the mapping of high-opportunity areas. There is little doubt that the concept of opportunity mapping has been and is being misused. However . . . —Kirk McClure, more
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Archdiocesan Housing Chief Executive Officer ● The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York seeks a recognized leader in the affordable housing community to direct and oversee its affordable housing programs as its first Archdiocesan Housing CEO. The CEO will oversee and manage the increasingly complex and . . . Read Full Listing
Senior OrganizerThe Center for Community Change Housing Trust Fund Project seeks a staff person to build statewide networks of affordable housing residents and to work on all aspects of providing information and technical assistance to organizations working to create/implement city, county, or state housing trust funds . . . Read Full Listing
Program Manager, Affordable HomeownershipThe PM will develop, implement, and provide ongoing management for our Affordable Homeownership Team. We work to address the growing racial wealth divide through program development, policy advocacy, partnerships, and thought leadership to ensure . . . Read Full Listing
Training Senior SpecialistWe are looking for a creative and detail-oriented self-starter to join our team to oversee our annual national conference and grow our training program’s scale and impact. Our work requires someone who can balance and incorporate many different perspectives into complicated, fast-paced . . . Read Full Listing
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Featured Bloggers
Bob Annibale, Citi ● Laura Barrett, Interfaith Worker Justice ● Murtaza Baxamusa, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC ● Michael Bodaken, National Housing Trust ● Bill Bynum, HOPE Credit Union ● Steve DubbJamaal Green, Portland State University ● John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service ● David Holtzman, newspaper reporter and former planner ● Josh Ishimatsu, National CAPACD ● Rick Jacobus, Street Level Advisors ● Daniel Kravetz, freelance writer ● Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress ● Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity ● Doug Ryan, Prosperity Now ● Josh Silver, NCRC ● James Tracy, San Francisco Community Land Trust ● Eva Wingren, Baltimore Community Foundation