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This report is based on dozens of interviews with practitioners, academics, and community members, as well as a review of various reports, studies, and surveys. It shares the resulting findings through key research insights, a review of best practices, and relevant examples. It seeks to broaden awareness, discourse, and adoption of community control of land and housing strategies among various stakeholders who have a genuine desire to see stable, healthy, equitable, and sustainable local communities flourish. These stakeholders include community activists, municipal officials, economic development professionals, community development practitioners, anchor institution leaders, and social investors.
Data from states and municipalities across the country suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of color in the United States. This report analyzes emerging data on deaths, unemployment, failing businesses, and wealth inequality to assess the links between racial and ethnic economic inequities, structural racism, and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 on people of color.
Due to structural economic and social inequality, low-income communities and communities of color continue to face many challenges in the economic-development process. Through eleven examples of community wealth building initiatives, the first section of this report offers low-income individuals and communities a number of strategies that revolve around comprehensive development, anchor-institution partnerships, community organizing, and technical assistance that can aid them in advancing economically and building their wealth. In the next section, this report outlines both historical and emerging trends in efforts to build skills and empower low-income community members.
Those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are those without living wages or access to political power. As a result, it is necessary for climate resiliency strategies to adopt a framework of community wealth building. Cities have recently integrated more green infrastructure strategies into their climate resiliency planning; a buildout of green infrastructure projects could create new opportunities for social enterprises and worker cooperatives, which play critical roles in building community wealth, to thrive. This report investigates the state of worker cooperatives and social enterprises in the green infrastructure field, in order to understand the possibilities and strategies for these community wealth building enterprises to seize the opportunity to provide positive jobs in their communities.
Hospitals and health systems across the country are adopting an “anchor mission”—an approach that aligns institutional resources like hiring, purchasing, and investing, in order to tackle the underlying economic and social determinants of community health outcomes. If everyone in the institution clearly understands the anchor mission, the mission becomes part of the institution’s culture and can then be supported and upheld throughout all levels of the institution. This toolkit provides communication tips, tools, and examples that can aid the process of building the anchor mission understanding needed to support the culture change and obtain widespread buy-in.
Though the United States has a large and highly developed pharmaceutical industry, it operates on an extractive model that contributes to inequality and increasingly produces drug shortages, inefficiency, lagging innovation, misinformation and misuse of medications, and the world’s highest drug prices. These poor outcomes are the natural consequence of an industry oriented around the goal of maximizing profit above all else. This report outlines a model for a structural alternative—public ownership in the pharmaceutical sector—and offers initial considerations about the potential benefits of such a model for national health and wellbeing, the economy and democracy.
In an attempt to combat the growing challenge of wealth inequality, leaders and policymakers are looking to broad-based ownership models as tools to create jobs and build community wealth. These models are highly effective, with a positive impact for low and moderate-income individuals and communities. This report looks at six models (employee stock ownership plan companies [ESOPs], worker cooperatives, community development financial institutions [CDFIs], social enterprises, municipal ownership, and emerging hybrids), with examples of best practices, and explores how these models can be used in community economic development.
The global spread of Covid-19 has highlighted the vital need for reliable high-speed internet and the inadequacies of the for-profit, corporate model in delivering it. This report proposes new approaches to ownership and control that will accelerate and democratize digital infrastructure development, by providing full-fibre access to all, reducing corporate concentration and political power, and ensuring that people have power over their own data. Policy recommendations include overturning state-level preemption laws, utilizing federal funding to operate municipal and community broadband networks, and breaking up Big Tech companies and turning their cloud computing services into a public utility.
The $1 trillion public-private infrastructure plan proposed by the Trump Administration would cost an additional $1 trillion-plus in financing and user fees over a ten-year period. This policy brief lays out a variety of funding options that would not increase taxes or the federal debt, would not trigger hyperinflation, would not result in massive privatization of public assets, and would be feasible legislatively. Funding options include direct federal reserve loans for infrastructure, “helicopter money”, creating an infrastructure bank, and more.
A historical legacy of displacement and exclusion, rooted in racism and discriminatory public policy, has restricted access and shaped ownership dynamics to land and housing, particularly for people of color and low-income communities. Today, communities across the country are facing new threats of instability, unaffordability, disempowerment, and displacement due to various economic, demographic, and cultural changes that are putting increased pressure on land and housing resources. This report provides an overview of strategies and tools that establish community control of land and housing, to address these problems; these include Limited Equity Cooperatives (LECs), Resident Owned Communities (ROCs), Community Land Trusts (CLTs), Community Benefits Agreements (CBAs), and Land Banks.