Investing in Health through Housing in North Memphis: Master Home Environmentalist (MHE) program

One of the primary goals of the Neighborhood Collaborative for Resilience (NCR), is to help neighborhoods create intentional strategies that holistically address equity, health and climate concerns. NCR prioritizes work that ensures historically disinvested communities and people of color gain tangible benefits from the investments made in their environment. A successful example of this work is the Master Home Environmentalist (MHE) program.

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Member Monday Spotlight: MidtownMemphis.org

Emily Cupples, Executive Director of MidtownMemphis.org, shares about their organization's meaningful work and vibrant community.

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2019 BLDG Memphis Candidate Questionnaire Results

Leading up to the 2019 City of Memphis Municipal Elections, we posed three questions to all 64 candidates running for mayor and city council to gauge their support for local solutions to our city's needs. The questions addressed the topics of quality affordable housing; supporting and growing the newly created Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund, pedestrian safety; improving Memphis' record as the 11th most dangerous metro area for pedestrians in the U.S. and public transit; increasing our investment to fund the Memphis 3.0 Transit Vision.

The three questions were sourced from our membership base of 28 nonprofit community development corporations working in neighborhoods across Memphis and supporting/partner agencies in the economic development and financial sectors.

We recorded responses from the 13 candidates that participated and displayed them on our website to help voters make informed decisions on election day. Let’s look at what a few of the 2019 candidates running in the City of Memphis Municipal Elections had to say. 

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What Proposed Changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Could Mean for Memphis CDCs

 

Proposed changes to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) could divert billions of dollars from low- and moderate-income communities. Currently, banks meet their CRA requirements by providing capital for affordable housing, small businesses and economic development in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. By relaxing standards for the types of investments that qualify for CRA credit, the proposed rules would open the door to discriminatory housing and investment practices – i.e., redlining. Overall, these rules would make financial institutions far less accountable and connected to the communities they are required to serve.

Our team at BLDG Memphis wanted to address the concerns of these proposed changes at the local level by speaking with leaders of our member community development corporations. We asked Charia Jackson, Deputy Director of Frayser Community Development Corporation, to share her perspective on how CRA changes could impact communities across the city. 

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2020 Policy Priority: Affordable Housing

Creating affordable housing options is crucial to the revitalization of Memphis neighborhoods. Through our affordable housing policy priority, we are focusing on increasing resources for and eliminating barriers to solving the quality affordable housing supply/demand gap through tools for acquisition, development and maintenance of affordable units.

Over the next year we hope to accomplish the following goals:

●    Secure county and private allocations to the Memphis Affordable Housing Trust Fund and explore additional dedicated funding sources for long-term sustainability.

●    Explore changes to the state Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Program that increases the competitiveness of neighborhood-scaled affordable housing developments. 

●    Improve governing systems and enact policies that hold property owners and private management accountable for their properties while supporting and protecting the rights and livability of renters. 

●    Support the adoption of a rental property registry ordinance and regular inspections of rental housing units to ensure the safety of and livability for residents. 

●    Explore the creation of a “renters’ bill of rights” that clarifies and strengthens protections from housing discrimination, unlawful eviction, and retaliation. 

●    Encourage equitable access to fair housing opportunities through home repair and weatherization programs, increased housing and financial counseling, and the creation of a “one-stop-shop” for individuals and families to access information, apply, and be referred for services.

●    Expand the eligibility of local and state home repair and weatherization programs to have a greater economic, health, and stability impact for Memphis households, for example by including rental property improvements as eligible uses. 

Visit our website to learn more about BLDG Memphis and see how you can get involved

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Member Monday Spotlight: Alcy Ball Community Development Corporation

 

Seth Harkins, Executive Director 

How was Alcy Ball started?
Alcy Ball Development Corporation (ABDC) was founded in 2012. Our Community Development Corporation (CDC) started through relationships between the leadership of Divine Life Church and Second Presbyterian Church. Through their mutual understanding of Asset Based Community Development principles, the initial leadership group decided to form a CDC to strengthen some of the existing relationships and reestablish Alcy Ball as a desirable, thriving community. Funding from Second Presbyterian and neighborhood connections from Divine Life formed the foundation of what exists today – an organization working to support resident leaders. 

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BLDG 20 for 20

Day 20 – The Next 20 Years of BLDG Memphis

Thank you for following along as we celebrated our 20th year and reflected on the people, partners and programs that have been core to our work of building more sustainable and just neighborhoods across Memphis.

Your donations allow us to increase resources for safe, affordable and healthy housing, redevelop vacant and abandoned neighborhoods, create better strategies for community economic development, make our streets safer, equip residents with the tools they need to make neighborhood change a reality and more. 

As we look to the next 20 years, consider making an investment in our community to help us to continue to strengthen the coalition and make Memphis livable for years to come.

Show your support for BLDG Memphis by giving $20 for 20 years of empowering Memphis to build, live, develop and grow: https://bldgmemphis.nationbuilder.com/donate

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BLDG Memphis celebrates 20th anniversary, reflects on two decades of community development and engagement

BLDG Memphis (Build. Live. Develop. Grow.), a coalition for organizations and individuals who support the development and redevelopment of healthy, vibrant, attractive and economically sustainable neighborhoods throughout the Memphis region, recently announced its 20th anniversary, celebrating two decades of community advancement. Established in 1999, the organization now enables more than 40 community development corporations (CDCs) to make their visions a reality.

“The daily lives of Memphians are affected by the infrastructure and investments, or lack thereof, made in our communities,” said John Paul Shaffer, executive director at BLDG Memphis. “With this in mind, it has been a privilege to lead, encourage and witness the revitalization that has been brought to local neighborhoods through the work of our organization and incredible partners.”

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The Future of SPARCC/NCR

In six regions across the country, the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) is investing in and amplifying local efforts to ensure that new investments reduce racial disparities, build a culture of health and prepare for a changing climate. Since 2017, BLDG Memphis has served as the backbone agency for SPARCC in Memphis, also referred to as the Neighborhood Collaborative for Resilience (NCR), supporting community-led solutions for addressing racial inequity in North Memphis. Through a community table structure and various work groups, and as a result of the collective efforts of our staff, NCR members and the SPARCC national team, community-sourced projects were able to take root in a part of Memphis that has historically faced disinvestment.

The work we have accomplished through this partnership has been extremely rewarding. These projects include a food pantry, affordable senior housing, education around flash flooding and more. 

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Member Monday Spotlight: South Memphis Alliance Community Development Corporation

 

Tiffany N. Turnage, Program Director

How was SMA started?
SMA opened its doors in the year 2000 to help support local civic organizations in addressing community concerns such as blight, food deserts, environmental racism, and social injustice. These issues are, and always will be, at the core of our agency’s mission.

What is your current focus? 
SMA has focused on three core goals: social services, mentoring, and advocacy. In 2012, our agency took a dilapidated, rundown laundry in South Memphis and secured one million dollars to convert it into the first-of-its-kind laundromat and resource center, which we named “Social Suds.” This unique social entrepreneurial project built a state-of-the-art laundromat to attract individuals who often fall between the cracks of society, including the working poor and students. While customers were waiting for their clothes to wash and dry, they were able to receive free support services from over a dozen social service agencies. These agencies included the Shelby County Health Department, the Memphis VA Medical Center, the IRS, Hope Credit Union, Southern College of Optometry, Just City legal aid, and many more.

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