Black-led CDFIs are uniquely attuned to Black communities yet have six times less capital than White-led CDFIs.

Equitable Development Initiative, Detroit. Photo/ Capital Impact Partners

We know one thing from the 2008 economic meltdown: Communities of color were stripped of wealth and had only recently begun to find their footing again. When the COVID-19 pandemic swept the country, it was once again Black and Brown communities bearing the brunt of the damage. …


Access to healthy food can support not only personal health but neighborhood health

It says something about the persistence of food deserts in low-income neighborhoods when the managers of Carver Market, a new grocery store in Historic South Atlanta, have to drive 200 miles roundtrip each week to a small town in Alabama to stock Carver’s shelves.

There’s been a lot of talk and research about the importance of access to healthy food as a social determinant of health. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease — all are linked to diet. …


A successful demonstration program lays the foundation for a $13 million funding pool for supportive housing.

By Barbara Ray

Photo/ Mr. G’s Travels

Joanne was short of breath. It was 2017 and she was homeless, living on the streets in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Joanne (a pseudonym) has bipolar disease and self-medicates with alcohol and crack-cocaine, according to the local alderman, James Cappleman. She’s been arrested at least 18 times and picked up by police far more than that. Joanne is also well-known to the staff at Weiss Hospital in the neighborhood. Cappleman was with Joanne when she became short of breath. …


How leaders in community development and health see the future after coronavirus.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

By Barbara Ray, for Build Healthy Places Network

The coronavirus has plunged the country into a crisis few alive have ever experienced. As the weeks wore on and the death toll mounted, the pandemic did something else: It laid bare our country’s deep inequities. Those getting sick and dying were disproportionately low-income people of color. The essential workers in the grocery stores and delivery vans were largely low-income people of color. And the small businesses most impacted were often run by people of color. …


Community development, health systems, policymakers, and others can come together to help ensure that loneliness and isolation among seniors are a thing of the past.

By Barbara Ray

Photo/ Bruno Martins on Unsplash

We probably haven’t met them. The neighbor on the third floor who never goes out. The gentleman down the street whose garage door stays shut. The elderly woman in the big house whose husband died a few years ago. They are among the roughly 28 million Americans over age 60 who are lonely.

A few weeks ago, Dr. Carla Perissinotto, associate chief for clinical programs in geriatrics at University of California, San…


Photo/ Barbara Ray

by Barbara Ray

Are Opportunity Zones a boondoggle for investors or a way to build opportunities in neglected neighborhoods?

Jared Kushner is on board. So is Anthony Scaramucci and the reformed 1980s junk bond king Michael Milken. Opportunity Zones are grabbing headlines and getting investors’ attention with a tax break that could potentially funnel billions of much needed capital into low-income communities.

Ushered in by senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) on just six pages of the massive 2017 federal tax overhaul, the new legislation allows wealthy investors to defer capital gains taxes—which range from 15 to 20…


Photo/ DVIDSHUB

by Liz Duffrin

Cities and states are taking it upon themselves to address the risk to low-income communities of climate-related displacement.

Little Haiti in Miami, a low-income neighborhood north of downtown, is rich in Caribbean culture, family-owned restaurants, and colorful street murals yet poor in amenities that would ordinarily attract real estate developers. But in a city vulnerable to sea level rise caused by a heating planet, one feature has helped Little Haiti become one of the nation’s fastest-gentrifying neighborhoods — higher elevation.

Little Haiti and four other low-income, high-elevation neighborhoods in Miami became a national symbol of “climate gentrification”…


Chicago’s West Side. Photo/ Eric Young Smith

Research is documenting the harmful effects on children when families must keep moving to find a safe, affordable home.

by Liz Duffrin

On a spring day in 2014, Latisha Lacey, a single mother, moved into a freshly rehabbed two-bedroom home on Chicago’s West Side. It was affordable at $850 a month, so as time passed she tried to ignore the drug dealers in the alley, the landlords’ advances, and the prostitutes he invited into the basement. But her active boys disturbed his trysts, she said, and her continued rejection angered him. One day, without explanation, he refused her rent check. A week before Christmas 2015, he evicted her.

That rental was her sixth in fourteen years. One place had…


Residents of Wisconsin Rapids discuss the redevelopment of the Daily Tribune building. Photo/ Incourage.

Small towns face unique hurdles in economic development

by Carl Vogel

Gloria Dickerson grew up without much in Drew, Mississippi, one of a dozen small Delta towns in Sunflower County. She left to get her accounting degree at Ole Miss and after graduation in 1974, she moved to Jackson for a job.

Her story is not uncommon in rural America. Small towns like Drew struggle with declining, and aging, populations as youth move away for greener pastures. Drew lost 14 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010 alone. Economic development is difficult to jumpstart without population — or capital — to support it. But without a robust…


Photo courtesy of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System

By Liz Duffrin

Opening a children’s museum seems an unlikely endeavor for a health care system. So does establishing a trendy restaurant district. But these are just two of the innovative strategies financed in recent years by Catholic health systems seeking to spur economic development and improve well-being in the low-income communities they serve.

Research finds that medical care plays a limited role in good health and that other factors like strong social networks, employment, high-quality housing, education, and access to healthy food are far more influential. A growing awareness of these “social determinants of health” is one reason the…

Build Healthy Places

By joining forces, community development and health professionals can have a more powerful impact. www.buildhealthyplaces.org

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