The 3C Initiative Advances Housing Accessibility and Racial Equality in 5 American Cities through Structural Transformation
Structural Change: 3C Initiative Promotes Housing Affordability and Racial Equity in Five U.S. Cities
The Center for Community Investment’s Connecting Capital and Community (3C) initiative, launched in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, aims to address the severe housing challenges faced by U.S. cities and communities of color, particularly in regards to the racial wealth disparity caused by unequal homeownership rates. The project involves teams in five major U.S. cities working to increase affordable rental or for-sale housing while also building wealth for Black and Latino communities. The teams are bringing together stakeholders across nonprofit, public, and private sectors, designing innovative projects, and testing new ways to address the housing supply and homeownership crisis that can inform efforts in other cities. The initiative aims to develop city-specific housing approaches that demonstrate a way to build or preserve affordable housing more easily and equitably. Three cities, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, have taken different approaches.
Structural Change: 3C Initiative Promotes Housing Affordability and Racial Equity in Five U.S. Cities
By Amanda Abrams, February 17, 2023
In 2021, the Los Angeles Times reported that some of the city’s newest million-dollar neighborhoods were in South LA. Many residents of the historically Black community were shocked. Not Kristin Johnson. The South LA native and her husband have been trying to buy a home in the area for a while now, but haven’t been able to afford one. They both work, and have spent several years improving their credit and growing their savings. But housing prices keep moving out of reach. Back in 1965, Johnson’s grandparents bought a house in the Crenshaw area of South LA, largely on one salary. The house cost $16,500. Today, it’s worth almost a million dollars. Johnson’s mother spent her teenage years in that house. She watched the last remaining white families flee and the neighborhood’s Black residents lose retail stores, manufacturing jobs, and essential services. Now white people are coming back, and investment is too; a Metro rail line going through the neighborhood opened this fall, and the new SoFi Stadium, home to the LA Rams, is 10 minutes away. Those changes will likely drive housing prices even higher. “A lot of folks who aren’t Black or brown are moving in and scooping up houses,” says Johnson. “But even with first-time homebuyer programs, I’m still not able to afford a home in the area where I was born and raised.”
Cities around the country are facing severe housing challenges, and communities of color are especially hard hit. Many have been struggling for years, but the pandemic exacerbated the situation, leading to surging home prices and rising rents, particularly in big cities. Those increases have slowed somewhat since mid-2022, but they haven’t stopped, and residents are fighting simply to maintain their footholds, let alone buy homes and grow their wealth. There’s a giant gap in U.S. homeownership rates-almost 75 percent of white households own their homes, compared to 45 percent of Black households and 48 percent of Latino households-and it’s a big source of the nation’s racial wealth disparity. But affordable single-family homes that could begin to address that problem aren’t being produced at anything close to the scale needed. Efforts to preserve and expand affordable housing while building community wealth have faced challenges ranging from restrictive local development policies to construction slowdowns caused by staffing and supply chain issues.
The Center for Community Investment’s Connecting Capital and Community initiative (3C), established in partnership with JPMorgan Chase, seeks to address these challenges using a fundamentally different approach. Launched in 2021, the project currently includes teams in five major U.S. cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, and Washington, DC. Each team is creating localized, customized strategies to increase its city’s stock of affordable rental or for-sale housing, while also building wealth for Black and Latino communities. The teams, which include residents as full partners, are bringing together stakeholders across nonprofit, public, and private sectors; designing innovative projects that can influence capital flows, policies, and practices; and testing new ways to tackle the housing supply and homeownership crisis that can inform efforts in other cities.
A National Problem with Local Solutions
The 3C initiative emerged as a way to examine barriers within the housing system that have limited both access to housing and the supply of housing, and to identify tools and strategies for overcoming those barriers that can help support and advance Black and Latino communities. “We know that communities need a variety of housing types,” says Omar Carrillo Tinajero, director of partnerships and initiatives at the Center for Community Investment (CCI). “If we’re supporting thriving communities, and if in particular we care about communities that have been underinvested and disinvested, we need to ensure that we’re using a variety of tools.” 3C is part of a $400 million, five-year philanthropic commitment by JPMorgan Chase to support Black, Latino, and Hispanic households. CCI and JPMorgan Chase crafted the program based on insights from their place-based development work, and it is designed to support a holistic examination of investments, not one-time projects. “We want to advance systems change, which is critical for inclusive growth in communities,” says Mercedeh Mortazavi, vice president for global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “Our investments will help test new innovations, bring people together to think collaboratively, and aim to be successfully scaled across the country.”
In each city, a lead organization spent significant time in 2021 gathering stakeholders from the nonprofit, municipal, philanthropic, and corporate sectors, as well as from community groups representing local residents, to form a core team. Together, team members settled on shared priorities and began scrutinizing their local environments to identify gaps and potential solutions. They looked for land use patterns that might support small-scale development-high numbers of vacant lots, for example, or historical housing styles that support both homeowners and renters-as well as for potentially useful tools and resources, then crafted plans around those findings. Some teams are aiming to increase the housing stock available to low-income families for purchase; others are trying to fight gentrification-related displacement by building affordable rental homes.
Despite addressing different issues, the groups have found common ground. This is true both in practice, as they prioritize partnering with developers of color and collaborating with local residents, and on a strategic level, as they research innovative lending, land use, and ownership models that could help transform housing and wealth-building opportunities in their communities.
A Framework for Action
Although 3C is new, the process the teams are using to focus their efforts is time tested. Fundamental concepts like aligning priorities and partnering with a project’s end users-in this case, community members-are part of the capital absorption framework, a tool developed by Robin Hacke, CCI’s executive director, and Marian Urquilla, the organization’s cofounder. Using the capital absorption framework, many communities have addressed local economic and social challenges like affordable housing by developing shared goals, encouraging a stream of developments rather than focusing on single projects, and improving the enabling environment of pertinent policies and processes that can smooth and speed up that preservation and development pipeline.
“Ultimately, it’s about trying to reorganize, redesign, and reshape how a community imagines its future and lays down track to get there,” says Urquilla. “It’s very hard work-but it will pay dividends down the line.”
The Center for Community Investment’s Capital Absorption Framework helps communities address local social and economic challenges by identifying shared goals, developing an investment pipeline, and strengthening pertinent policies and processes. Credit: CCI.
Dana Jackson has seen this approach bear real fruit. Jackson, a consultant from Louisville, Kentucky, who has over 25 years of experience in grassroots organizing and policymaking, is 3C’s lead faculty. She coaches the Miami and Chicago teams and leads workshops where all five teams work through exercises focused on their specific environments and the needs of all stakeholders. In those sessions, says Jackson, each group might be asked to outline its city’s housing system and all the steps involved in developing a home and getting homebuyers or tenants in place. That leads to questions like, “Where does it get bunged up or hung up, and how might we, with a set of partners, make some shifts in that system?” relates Jackson. “I’ve seen teams get really clear on what the system pinches are, and then craft a strategy to address that.”
She agrees with Urquilla that it’s not an easy process. But it’s important groundwork for accomplishing the 3C initiative’s objective: to develop city-specific housing approaches that demonstrate a way to build or preserve affordable housing more easily and equitably-and that can inform efforts elsewhere. The five cities and their team members all began in different places. Some cities are home to high-capacity nonprofit organizations and existing infrastructure that supports their work, while others have sometimes struggled to connect with resources. Some team members had worked together before and were able to hit the ground running, while others needed time to learn about each other and the best ways to get things done. Each group has taken a different approach to developing the projects they hope will strengthen affordability and equity in their cities. Here’s a look at the work underway in three of the 3C cities: Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Chicago: Lowering the Homeownership Threshold
Early in the 3C process,…
1- melk360.com ,Structural Change: 3C Initiative Promotes Housing Affordability and Racial Equity in Five U.S. Cities ,2023-04-16 22:09:55