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Asset Building Program

Archives: Asset Building Program Articles and Op-Eds

Combating Poverty by Building Assets

  • By
  • Ray Boshara,
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
June 1, 2009 |

A child in Uganda, orphaned when his parents died of AI DS, is off the streets and avoiding AI DS himself by saving money for secondary school with the support of the innovative Suubi project, which provides poor children with Child Development Accounts. In China's western Xinjiang region, a poor rural farmer sees his "dead," or untouchable, pension savings become "live," or usable income-producing assets, thanks to the work of a visionary local government bureaucrat.

New Ideas For Strengthening Federal Rental Assistance

  • By
  • Reid Cramer,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jeffrey Lubell
May 14, 2009 |

Tough economic times are straining what is already a maxed-out system of social services. Despite the attention being paid to beleaguered homeowners, renters are being squeezed as well. Since an increasing number of Americans simply earn too little to afford to rent a decent home, one vital element of our social net is the provision of rental housing assistance. To help these families meet their basic needs for shelter, the federal government spends more than $25 billion a year through a mix of housing vouchers and direct subsidies to help about four million households.

'FinancialCorps' Would Fill Big Need

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Jennifer Tescher
April 17, 2009 |

A bill to dramatically increase national service by expanding AmeriCorps hits President Obama's desk soon. While he's at it, we hope he will consider creating a different kind of corps -- a volunteer financial services corps to put quality financial advice within the reach of every American.

Dixieland Blues

  • By
  • Rourke OBrien,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Katherine Newman
April 15, 2009 |

Governors across the country are clamoring for a piece of the stimulus, eager to avoid laying off state employees, hoping to put their unemployed citizens back to work and trying to avoid widespread furloughs as budgets bleed red ink. They know that their citizens want to keep libraries open, teachers in the classroom, cops on the beat and firefighters ready to protect people and property.

Traditional Lending Goes Mainstream

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
April 8, 2009 |

A whopping 44 percent of Mission District residents don't have low credit scores. They have NO credit scores. Without them, the only loans they can get are the loans no one wants - those with pricey interest rates and harsh terms. And if doors to affordable credit seemed closed to these consumers before the financial meltdown, they're slammed shut now.

Traditional Lending Goes Mainstream

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • New America Foundation
April 8, 2009 |

A whopping 44 percent of Mission District residents don't have low credit scores. They have NO credit scores. Without them, the only loans they can get are the loans no one wants - those with pricey interest rates and harsh terms. And if doors to affordable credit seemed closed to these consumers before the financial meltdown, they're slammed shut now.

What the Poor Can Teach the Rich at G-20

  • By
  • Jamie M. Zimmerman,
  • New America Foundation
April 1, 2009 |

This week's G-20 summit is essentially an echo chamber for the world's wealthy to talk macrofinance. The world economy might rebound more quickly if they listen to what the poor have to say about microfinance.

Learning from the Past

  • By
  • Ellen Seidman,
  • New America Foundation
  • and Andrew Jakabovics, Center for American Progress

While there is little to celebrate in the current foreclosure disaster, one potential silver lining in the large number of bank-owned properties is the opportunity to turn those properties into community assets. A May 2008 conference hosted by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University and sponsored by the Ford Foundation brought together policy experts and practitioners to share best practices for “Transforming Foreclosed Properties into Community Assets.” Most of the discussion focused on what can be done by partners working together at the local level.

How Judges Might Help Troubled Homeowners

  • By
  • Anne Stuhldreher,
  • Ellen Seidman,
  • New America Foundation
March 31, 2009 |

Remember fieldtrips? All 535 members of Congress should take one this week to Room 675 of the County Courthouse in Philadelphia. Doing so would bust some myths surrounding the "cram down" legislation – now stalled in the Senate – that would allow bankruptcy judges to reduce payments on troubled mortgages.

Most financial services executives oppose this bill, saying desperate homeowners would flood the courts and inexperienced judges would make uninformed decisions – creating uncertainty about mortgage repayment that would spur lenders to raise interest rates.

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