Setting the Stage: Community Development
Using a community development model, John Liotti with his nonprofit Able Works, has taken a long-term approach to transforming his East Palo Alto Community by offering financial literacy, foreclosure counseling, and housing development utilizing a community land trust. Their Future Profits literacy classes are unique in that they are taught throughout several public school districts low-income disenfranchised students, utilizing church volunteers.
In some financial literacy courses, there may be incentives like the IDA program, which match the savings of very low income families. In the past some program have savings matched up to five times, depending on the number of bank partners participating. After two years in the program, the money is used for home ownership.
There are countless ways that churches across the country use affordable housing as a tool for community development.
Typically, communities are defined by the crime level or any number of negative factors, but according to John Kretzmans and John McKnight’s Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Institute, show groups across the US how to recognize and assets within the communities, defining a community based on their assets; developing upon what is good in the community that they have, be it a vacant property or home, or unemployed folks, or little old
Another group that offers excellent practical training on how churches can successfully apply this ABCD approach is:
Communities First Association: http://communitiesfirstassociation.org/
The Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) offers a biblical and effective framework for churches to become engaged in transforming under-resourced communities. Many of the authors featured in this book have been part of the CCDA movement.
They offer affordable housing tracks at their yearly national conferences: http://www.ccda.org.