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ANHD Launches Equitable Economic Development Initiative

July 16, 2015

ANHD announces the launch of our new Equitable Economic Development Initiative (EqED) in 2015, a long-term expansion of our work.

ANHD announces the launch of our new Equitable Economic Development Initiative (EqED) in 2015, a long-term expansion of our work.

For the past two years, ANHD has convened our member groups to plan how we can build on our primary focus on affordable housing to better support the community development movement’s broader work and the core strengths of our groups. From this came a clear directive, that in order to more fully serve our communities, we need improved economic opportunities in neighborhoods and to clearly incorporate equity in the City’s economic development strategies.

Recently, ANHD Board of Directors took a bold step and voted to expand ANHD membership and mission beyond affordable housing to also include equitable economic development.

The affordable housing crisis is greater than ever, and so is the need for effective, targeted City programs and policies. Affordable housing will continue to be the center of ANHD’s work, but the community development movement has, from its inception, been about more than affordable housing.

Equitable Economic Development is a crucial social challenge and one that must be tackled if our City, of our neighborhoods, and our communities are to address the inequality gap. Equitable Economic Development has been a part the community development movement’s central mission of addressing those systems that deny equal opportunity to those populations and places that most need them through high-impact programs and grassroots policy activism.

With the growing concern about our city’s increasing economic inequality, economic development is an increasing focus of government action and community activism. By launching ANHD’s Equitable Economic Development initiative we will expand our focus and better support the broader work of our members groups. We look forward to joining with city-wide partner organizations, and bringing the strengths of the community development movement to the collective work.

The three principal themes to ANHD’s EqED Initiative are:

  1. Build on the community development movement’s experience and strengths to encompass a fuller vison of community development that embraces equitable economic development;
  2. Redefine the objective of NYC economic development to make central an intentional goal of putting in place strategies and programs that extend economic opportunity to communities, populations, places in the city that would otherwise face significant barriers; and
  3. Create an ecosystem of tools, programs, investments, allies and grassroots activism to address the pressing community development need for more equitable economic development.

Build On The Community Development Movement

In our 41 year history, ANHD has worked to support of our city’s community development movement; a movement which has been instrumental in revitalizing neighborhoods and fighting for more equitable housing policy across the city and across the decades. NYC’s community development movement’s strength is that together non-profit developers, affordable housing advocates, legal service provides, tenant associations, policy experts, and organized residents collectively take action both at the local level, in the communities where they are rooted, and at the citywide level where our collective interests meet.

ANHD believes that both the high-impact program capacity of our groups, and also the grassroots activism -based approach of our movement can create the civic infrastructure to shape the landscape of the city-wide Equitable Economic Development policy debate. The community development movement is the avenue to bring together grass-roots campaigns, real local backing, smart policy ideas, long-term stewardship, and on-the-ground accountability, which are the pieces we need to win impactful Equitable Economic Development that truly serve our neighborhoods and hold City political leadership accountable.

Redefine the Objective

Past Administrations have focused their economic development strategy on simply expanding the City’s tax base, funding large-scale development projects purported to create jobs, or providing big-corporations incentives to relocate to or remain in the City. While, equitable economic development programs and initiatives certainly exist in NYC, they are independent, disparate, and insufficient. The city lacks an ambitious, largescale strategy that is both intentional in its approach and measurable in its impacts and outcomes on economic development.

ANHD’s Equitable Economic Development will Initiative focus on creating programs and policy that support economic opportunity for all communities, emphasizing the quality of the jobs created, and the needs of the people being served. EqED is centered on putting in place systems, environments, and policies that creates a stable middle and working-class employment base with meaningful ladders to opportunity. Parallel to our work on affordable housing, ANHD’s EqED initiative will push City policy and resources to better service underserved communities and populations that need them most, through targeted strategies for quality job creation, small business development, and workforce development and placement.

The community development movement in New York City has, over the past decades, developed one of the richest ecosystems in the country to build and preserve affordable housing. Our movement has fostered collaboration among governments, nonprofit organizations, developers, and banks – all motivated by social activism – that has led to the creation of a robust set of affordable housing tools and infrastructure.

ANHD believes that it is time to develop a similar ecosystem in our city to drive forward equity in economic development. Nonprofit community organizations are primed to develop and implement locally relevant projects -both as developers and as service providers. Sophisticated intermediaries have the capacity to help provide financing through tax-credit, loans, and grants. Bank regulators can set investment benchmarks and provide clarity on standards of quality. And City agencies can implement strategies and set clear goals that address needs and gaps. Combined this can serve to build the tools and resources needed to support New York City’s businesses and workers.

To date, ANHD’s EqED Initiative has included the release of our Roadmap for Equitable Economic Development report, which presented a strategy for how the community development movement can build on its affordable housing experience to advance EqED as a core component of our vision and efforts. We issued a report on Bank Reinvestment and Equitable Economic Development, which made the case that banks and bank regulators should more fully consider equitable economic development issues in their Community Reinvestment Act related activities. And ANHD, along with city-wide allies released a report and have advanced public campaign calling on the City Administration to invest in the New Industrial New York by setting an ambitious goal to create and preserve industrial jobs, so that jobs have the same level of commitment as housing in City policy.

In the coming year ANHD’s Equitable Economic Development Initiative will take on:

  • The strengthening of the City’s workforce development system to focus on high-impact job training and job placement with industry partnerships and career pathways.
  • Supporting clear on-ramps in all large City-supported development projects to ensure that local neighborhood residents and under-employed populations have entry to these opportunities.
  • The expansion of community-based organizations as central to connecting residents in their neighborhoods with specific skills and job opportunities.
  • An increase in support for small businesses as economic engines in at-risk neighborhoods.
  • The expansion of quality jobs in the modern urban industrial sector for low-income New Yorkers;
  • The construction, rehabilitation, and management of manufacturing developments by nonprofit organizations.

ANHD members have shown again and again over the years that a neighborhood is stronger and more resilient if it has the tools to respond to ongoing challenges. We look forward to partnering and engaging with all the citywide allies who have been advancing issues of economic access and opportunity.

We are optimistic about all the new opportunities and challenges to come and the opportunity to further enhance the work of our movement. On behalf of ANHD and all our member groups, we hope that you will join us as we move forward our Equitable Economic Development Initiative to improve our neighborhoods and our City .

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