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Asset Building News Week, 4th Edition

January 27, 2012
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The Asset Building News Week is a weekly Friday feature on the The Ladder, the Asset Building Program blog, designed to help readers keep up with news and developments in the asset building field. This week's topics include alternatives to mainstream banking, EITC awareness, financial literacy, income and wealth inequality, homeownership, bankruptcy, and weakened social protection.

Upcoming Event: Keeping Commuters Out of Poverty

October 20, 2011
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Here at the Asset Building Program, we believe that helping people build their savings and assets will allow them to get (and stay) out of poverty. The recession has been hard on low and middle income Americans, especially those who commute to work in a car. When gas prices rise, they are forced to cut spending in other areas (food, medicine, education, etc) in order to pay for gasoline.

Healthcare Practitioners, Bankers, Community Leaders Gathered across California to Discuss Impact of Medical Debt on Californians

October 4, 2011

For Immediate Release - October 4: Recognizing the need to assist California residents struggling with medical debt, healthcare practitioners joined financial services providers and community groups last week to discuss how best to implement the Affordable Care Act and strategies for keeping Californians from acquiring medical debt.

Healthcare Practitioners, Bankers, Community Leaders Gather to Discuss Impact of Medical Debt on Angelenos' Ability to Achieve Financial Security

September 27, 2011

LOS ANGELES – Recognizing the need to assist Los Angeles residents struggling with medical debt, healthcare practitioners today joined financial services providers and community groups to discuss how best to implement the Affordable Care Act in Los Angeles and strategies for keeping Angelenos out of debt. Speakers also highlighted options for those plagued by medical debt.

The Great Recession Worsens the Racial Wealth Gap

July 26, 2011
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A report released today by the Pew Research Center finds that the Great Recession has worsened an already-widening gap in net worth between Whites, Latinos, and Blacks. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), researchers found that between 2005 and 2009, in percentage terms, “inflation-adjusted median wealth fell by 66% among Hispanic households and 53% among black households, compared with just 16% among white households.”

Rebuilding the Road to Financial Stability

July 1, 2011
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Low personal savings rates are just one of the ways in which the recent and pervasive Great Recession has highlighted the financial fragility of families, especially among lower-income Americans. Hopefully you were fortunate to join us on Wednesday for a convening of leading experts to discuss the road from financial fragility to financial stability. Entitled Rebuilding the Road to Financial Stability, the convening highlighted potholes along this road by citing evidence for just how financially fragile lower-income Americans are, introducing strategies to repair existing potholes, and suggesting ways in which we can build upon repairs to maintain the road.

Time to Rein in the Mortgage Servicers

June 3, 2011

Somewhere between addressing predatory lending, mortgage origination, and what to do with the onslaught of vacant and abandoned properties, we failed to really address everything in the middle. Maybe that is a little harsh. Several academics, state Attorneys General, and media outlets reported problems in mortgage servicing, scary trends like the difficulty of reaching someone with authority on the phone or the consistent loss of paperwork.

Bringing the Community Back into Community Development Research & Policy

May 4, 2011
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Last week, I attended the Federal Reserve Community Affairs Research Conference on “The Changing Landscape of Community Development” where researchers from the Fed and Universities around the country shared their most recent findings on the challenges facing low-income communities and community development policy-makers.  The conference covered a wide range of topics from foreclosures to farmers markets with eight discussion panels and keynote speeches by Columbia University professor and aut

Making (and Breaking) the Health-Wealth Connection

  • By
  • Leif Wellington Haase,
  • New America Foundation
April 27, 2011

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), if implemented as passed, will improve the financial security of Californians, and in particular that of low and middle-income Californians. While reducing the strain of medical bills and health insurance costs on family budgets is a major aim of the legislation, it also offers tools to individuals and communities as they attempt to reduce the “upstream” cost of poor health.

The ACA bridges the health-wealth connection in four major ways:

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