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Update on Community Development and Affordable Housing: Is an Answer Found in Social Enterprise?

Today the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund released its five year Strategic Plan

If you are not familiar with the CDFI, the CDFI “works to spur economic growth and opportunity in many of our nation’s most distressed communities.2015-11-26-13-04-02

“The CDFI Fund’s mission is to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers.”

Included in the overarching goal for the CDFI’s strategic plan is promoting community development. If you have a few minutes, take a look at the strategic plan.

The Affordable Housing Problem in Grand Rapids

As many of you may know, a few weeks back the Grand Rapids Chamber hosted an Issue Summit on the Housing Crisis in Grand Rapids.

The Summit brought speakers representing many community stakeholders, including representatives from 616 DevelopmentGrand Rapids Urban League,Rockford ConstructionICCFMSHDA, and many local non-profits, including Mel Trotter MinistriesHQHeartside Ministries, on this lack of affordable housing, what is as Mayor Bliss emphasized, admittedly, “a complex issue”.

I have previously offered my own perspective, both as a lawyer representing real estate developers/investors, and as Board Chairman at Mel Trotter Ministries.Is there an answer found in Social Enterprise?

Last week Jim Harger with MLive posted a thorough article on the affordable housing crisis.

One community partner highlighted was Pastor Jim Davis and his company “Purpose Properties

“The mission of Purpose Properties is to “raise enough money from local foundations and philanthropists to buy market-rate and affordable rental properties in the city.”

According to Jim Harger’s article:

Purpose Properties plans to charge market rates for its properties to those who can afford them and use their profits to subsidize the rents of those who cannot afford market rates.”

My thoughts:

This is social entrepreneurship at its finest. Social entrepreneurs engage their community by using the power of business to solve a social problem.

We need more businesses and community stakeholders to approach our community problems like Jim Davis and Purpose Properties.

The question we should all ask ourselves: Am I working to build a better community?



Twitter: @JeshuaTLauka


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