What is Asset Building for Working Families in a Down Economy?

On October 26th, the Asset Building Program and Economic Growth Program co-hosted an event called “Revising Policy Assumptions in the Wake of the Great Recession” that explored how the recent economic downturn has broadly spread hardship in the form of unemployment, foreclosures, and poverty and exposed the limits of existing policy interventions to provide economic security in times of rising need. Experts Jonathan Mintz, Commissioner of Department of Consumer Affairs for the City of New York, Sarah Rosen Wartell, Executive Vice President at the Center for American Progress, and Mike Konczal, Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute discussed how credit, savings, and homeownership are being reconsidered within this new landscape plagued by risk and uncertainty and what policy changes are necessary to help families protect and accumulate assets.  

On November 15th, the Asset Building Program will host an event presented by Capital Area Asset Builders to ask these questions of the state of asset building in the Washington, DC area after the recession. “What is Asset Building for Working Families in a Down Economy?” will examine what wealth creation opportunities still exist for working families in the District, highlighting promising efforts here and elsewhere around the country, and offer a chance to re-examine our traditional strategies for wealth building.

The opening plenary will examine that most venerated form of wealth building in America, homeownership. As the foreclosure crisis gained momentum, many observers blamed over-eager lenders and the Community Reinvestment Act for pushing low- and moderate- income buyers into purchases they couldn’t afford. But research from CFED and the Urban Institute has shown that low-income homebuyers who were connected to pre-purchase education and support and the opportunity to save and invest with equity right off the bat obtained mortgages with much fairer terms and were 2 to 3 times less likely to go to foreclosure than those who were not.

The panelists will share what they have seen in the past two years about how the market has changed for low- and moderate-income home purchase in the District, and what policies could support healthy home purchase for this population. Appearing on the panel will be a non-profit housing developer, the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, a for-profit developer, and the Urban Institute.

Other sessions will address how to stimulate small business development in DC, and new products and approaches for building credit. The event will conclude with a networking session to connect service providers with asset building practitioners and researchers and learn how they can integrate asset building into their work.

Please join us.

Author:

Rachel Black is the co-director of the Family-Centered Social Policy program at New America. In this role, she leads research, analysis, and public commentary around a portfolio of issues devoted to creating a more equitable public policy approach to  advancing a new vision for social policy that allows all families to thrive in an era of growing risk, uncertainty, and inequality.