Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

What Works News Round-Up – June 6, 2014

by Admin

In the News

Here is some of the latest poverty and community development news from this past week.

Forbes (6/5/14) Fighting Financial Exclusion: How To Serve 88 Million Americans Who Have No Bank
The existence of “bank deserts” in poverty-stricken communities presents a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and organizations willing to meet the needs of the millions of the unbanked and underbanked Americans through financial innovations. “There is a snap judgment out there that ‘lower income’ is synonymous with ‘too risky,’” Fairchild says. “However, there are careful, prudent ways to provide capital to the unbanked, without the expensive fees. Technology and big data can help us get there.”

City Lab (6/5/14) How to Make Mass Transit Financially Sustainable Once and for All
The words “transit” and “crisis” have been associated in the American lexicon for nearly 60 years. It is time to recognize this as a chronic condition rather than a temporary event. Current strategies have not placed transit on a financially sustainable path.

Brookings Institution Social Mobility Memos (6/3/14) Can Opportunity be Bought?
Boosting the income of poor families seems to have modest, but positive, effects on a variety of short- and long-term child outcomes, according to a handful of well-designed observational and quasi-experimental studies. Many of the more rigorous income studies find that the effects of increasing family income are largest when children are young, supporting the the growing consensus that early childhood poverty is particularly detrimental to child development. (6/3/14) It’s three times cheaper to give housing to the homeless than to keep them on the streets
The latest is a Central Florida Commission on Homelessness study indicating that the region spends $31,000 a year per homeless person on “the salaries of law-enforcement officers to arrest and transport homeless individuals — largely for nonviolent offenses such as trespassing, public intoxication or sleeping in parks — as well as the cost of jail stays, emergency-room visits and hospitalization for medical and psychiatric issues.”

Standford Social Innovation (6/2/14) Review SIBs, DIBs and Ad-Libs
Social impact bonds (SIBs), development impact bonds (DIBs), and other “pay-for-performance” social financing innovations are hot topics these days. Indeed, the hype has now far outrun reality, with a great many examples of reports and conferences but precious few actual specimens to dissect. As Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund told me, “This market is only going to get exciting once things start to move from talk to action.” He admits, however, that a lot of the early “beautiful theorizing” ran into a hard collision with reality, which is “always harder and more complicated” than the boosters predict.


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