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An Independent Supplement by Mediaplanet to USA Today

Community Development

Drew and Jonathan Scott want to make affordable housing a reality for everyone.

CELEBRATE how art and education are reinventing public housing in Harlem. LEARN how rideshare technology can improve health care and keep costs down.

Tarkett is Doing Good–Together and making a difference in the communities where we live and work. Through our work with Habitat for Humanity, we’re supporting affordable housing and building better futures for families...starting with the floor. TARKETTNA.COM 800.899.8916

Revitalizing homes and lives.


The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group is on a mission to eliminate child poverty. Page 6

in this issue

Franchises are on the forefront of volunteering and giving back to their communities. Page 8

A celebrity chef's cake shop is helping revitalize a neighborhood in Baltimore. Online

Building the Beloved Community and Ensuring Opportunity for All Laying the groundwork for a brighter, more equitable future is up to each and every one of us.


abitat for Humanity is propelled by a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. We devote ourselves to creating that world because we believe everyone — every single one of us, regardless of who we are or where we come from — deserves a dignified life and the opportunity for a better future. But believing is not enough. So we build. We build houses — and through those houses, we build the strength, stability and self-reliance that families need in order to achieve a better life. That better life is our primary goal. So when we build houses, we also build

bridges between people of diverse backgrounds. We build paths to more connected communities. We build ways for all people to come together and share in the creation of a new world. That new world allows access, equality and opportunity for all. That new world represents what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called “the Beloved Community.” This year, as we mark the 50th anniversaries of Dr. King’s tragic death and the passage of the Fair Housing Act just days later, we at Habitat renew our pledge to work harder than ever to help make the Beloved Community a reality. The Beloved Community is built

Jonathan T. M. Reckford CEO, Habitat for Humanity International

Tjada D'Oyen McKenna COO, Habitat for Humanity International

on love. Not just any love, but as Dr. King said, “the love of God operating in the human heart.” That’s a practical love that requires participation. When that love is truly and fully present, it compels us to act. It’s part of Habitat’s birthright. We began at Koinonia Farm, an interracial community farm outside Americus, Georgia, founded in 1942 by farmer and biblical scholar Clarence Jordan. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Clarence and his fellow Koinonia residents were fiercely committed to the equality of all people and utterly devoted to creating opportunity for all. Born from that vision, Habitat began in 1976. Since then, it has

grown into a global organization that has worked to live out the love that Dr. King spoke of. That love fuels our belief that making homeownership accessible and affordable for low-income families is a critical component to creating the kind of future that Dr. King envisioned. With his emphasis on the Beloved Community, Dr. King gave us the blueprint. Folks of faith and perseverance have stewarded it and advanced it. Now it’s up to all of us to make it a reality. Join us at Pledge to learn how you can help make the Beloved Community a reality. n

Publisher Isabel Carretero and Alexandra Flecha-Hirsch Business Developer Jordan Hernandez Managing Director Luciana Olson Designers Chris Espino, Jennifer Ledbury Copy Editor River Clegg Director of Sales Shannon Ruggiero Director of Business Development Jourdan Snyder Director of Product Faye Godfrey Content Strategist Mina Fanous Production Coordinator Josh Rosman Cover Photo Courtesy of Habitat For Humanity All photos are credited to Getty Images unless otherwise credited. This section was created by Mediaplanet and did not involve USA Today.




BECAUSE HOME IS SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A ROOF Edna recently graduated from Le Cordon Bleu, and credits the staff at Mercy Housing for inspiring her to follow her dreams.


Don’t Buy a Home Without Reading These 4 Tips

As supply lags behind demand in the housing market, here are four crucial things to keep in mind.


ith strong job growth and millennials’ movement into prime home-buying age, the single-family home market is heating up. Unfortunately, supply is not keeping pace with demand. Inventories of existing homes are very tight, and new construction is moving slowly. Competition for listings is intense, and home prices have been rising faster than income growth. Before you start house hunting, you will need to shop around for a mortgage that meets your needs. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

when it’s time to make an offer on a home. Know your credit history. Then be sure to ask what to expect after you make an offer. 3. Talk to more than one lender Get recommendations from friends and your real estate agent. Explore the different mortgage products they offer, especially those for first-time homebuyers, like federally-insured FHA loans and other loan types with lower down payments. Choose a lender that’s responsive and helpful.

4. Help your lender work for you Once you make an offer on a home, you’re 1. Understand your budget working with a deadline: the closing or setAffordability is a real issue in this market. tlement date. There will be a lot of forms Remember that your monthly payment and documentation needed beforehand. will include not only principal and interest, A good lender will help make sure that but also homeowner’s insurance and prop- everything goes smoothly. Increasingly, a erty taxes. Also, don’t forget that in addi- lot of the process is being done online, or tion to a down payment, most people will even on your smartphone. have closing costs that can be significant. If you understand the process before you start house hunting, you’ll be moving 2. Understand the process into your new home before you know it.  n Talk to people you know who have recently purchased a home and ask about their experience. Ask your lender about the pro- Robert D. Broeksmit, President and CEO, cess and timeline so that you’re prepared Mortgage Bankers Association


…in time well spent. This means that every second we spend helping you understand the mortgage process is time you get back to focus on the things that matter most. We know it’s a big step — one filled with decisions only you can make. But today our industry is strong, safe and transparent, helping you to efficiently make your dreams come true. We believe we’re in it together.



The president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition discusses how to address the growing crisis.


he affordable housing crisis in this country is obvious. According to a report prepared by the non-profit National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the average hourly wage it takes to afford a two-bedroom apartment in the United States is $22.10 ($17.90 for a one-bedroom). But the mean hourly wage is just $16.88, and the federal minimum wage is $7.25. Serving those in need According to Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the NLIHC, the affordable housing crisis isn’t new. “You have to go all the way back to the late 1970s to find a time when there was actually a surplus of homes that were affordable for the lowest-income people,” she says. “After the foreclosure crisis,” she adds, “millions more people entered the rental

market when the supply was not keeping up. In short, we’ve had stagnating wages, rising rents and declining federal funds.” With the NLIHC, Yentel focuses on those who need help with affordable housing the most. “The lens through which we do all of our work is focusing on the lowest-income people — people with disabilities, seniors on fixed incomes or families working really low-wage jobs.” Taking local action Yentel believes that local communities and small businesses can have an impact. “Local communities should look at local zoning restrictions,” she says. “When you don’t build any rental housing at all, much less housing targeted for the lowest-income people, you see really skyrocketing rents like in San Francisco. There’s no doubt that if we don’t act the crisis will only get worse — and we will pay for it one way or another.” We can be thankful that dedicated people like Yentel are fighting for affordable housing. More importantly, we can start thinking about what we can do in our own communities to help.  n Jeffrey Somers


To Solve the Housing Crisis, It Takes a Community

Want Healthy Kids? Cover Their Parents Learn why child advocates are pushing to expand Medicaid to lower-income adults.


he evidence is overwhelming that children covered by Medicaid — the major source of health insurance for low-income children — are more likely to stay in school, finish college, earn higher incomes, pay more taxes as adults and use fewer government subsidies than their uninsured peers. Simply put, making health insurance available to children is a wise public investment. An excellent way to improve children’s health is to make health insurance available to their parents. Kids are more likely to be insured and to get regular check-ups when their parents are insured.1 Unfortunately, millions of parents are uninsured because they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to purchase private health insurance. They fall into “the coverage gap.” The good news is that states can expand affordable coverage to these parents and other adults. But while most states have expanded, 17 have yet to take advantage of this option. In December 2012, Nevada became the first state with a Republican governor to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The Children’s Advocacy Alliance and its partners helped persuade Governor Sandoval and Nevada legislators that this would improve children’s health by providing coverage for many parents for the first time. Post-expansion, Nevada achieved the largest decrease in the rate of uninsured children of any state, dropping from 14.9 percent in 2013 to 6.8 percent in 2016. Results like this are why child advocates are working to expand Medicaid for adults — especially parents. In North Carolina, where the infant mortality rate was a shocking 7.2 per 1,000 births in 2016 (22 percent higher than the national average), advocates are pushing to secure health coverage for low-income women. Healthy moms are more likely to have healthy babies who survive to their first birthdays. In Idaho, Utah and Nebraska, child advocates are urging voters to support ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid, while in Maine, child advocates helped win the ballot initiative and are now pushing the governor to comply with the results. As we seek to improve children’s health, let’s remember that they need healthy families supporting them. n Deborah Stein, Network Director, Partnership for America’s Children, Michelle Hughes, Executive Director, NC Child and Denise Tanata, Executive Director, Children’s Advocacy Alliance 1 STUDY: PARENTS’ MEDICAID COVERAGE IMPACTS CHILDREN’S HEALTH, AAP NEWS, NOVEMBER 13, 2017.


Low-Income Adults Need Strong Community Colleges

Americans often think of college students as young people who depend on their parents. But in reality, today’s students usually work, have families and struggle to make ends meet. In fact, the majority of post-secondary education students are enrolled in community colleges. They need college to fit into their lives — not the other way around. Community colleges play an important role for students and communities. They provide educational services, prepare students for in-demand local jobs and employ people in the area. But community colleges are particularly important resources for low-income students. Fifty-eight percent of community college students have low-income backgrounds, compared with 42 percent of students at private four-year colleges. Additionally, more than 70 percent of black and Native American community college students earn low incomes, as do twothirds of Latinx ones. For many of these students, the greatest barrier to long-term success is a lack of support — academic, financial, physical and emotional — to help them enroll in, and complete, college. For decades, community colleges have been underfunded ­— that makes it difficult to address student needs like child care, food, housing and employment. As a result, students struggle to cover basic necessities, and they often drop out of school, risk taking on major debt or both. The federal government must increase its investments in programs and institutions that help low-income students and students of color succeed. That includes investing in minority-serving institutions (MSIs), which represent close to one-quarter of all community colleges, as well as permanently increasing the Pell Grant and providing more grant aid. It’s also critical to connect students to public benefits and other non-financial support services. And the federal government should devise free community college programs that are flexible enough to include populations that would benefit most. These investments are vital to ensuring equitable access and positive outcomes for all students. Lauren Walizer, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)


To give every American the opportunity for success, we must do more to fund higher education.

The Smart Move: Early Education for All Children

Members of the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group explain why it’s important to give children resources and opportunities early in life.


here are 13 million children living in poverty in the United States. Despite their efforts to thrive, they are faced with barriers at every stage of their development. These barriers often include a lack of access to vital resources, like a quality early childhood education, proper nutrition and basic healthcare. For children in poverty, these obstacles are often compounded by disinvestment in lower-income communities.This sets a foundation for negative outcomes throughout the kids’ lives, leading to fewer opportunities and creating a “snowball effect” that gives children living in poverty an entirely different trajectory from that of their peers. Child development research shows that kids benefit from resources provided at an early age

— and that those resources create a long-term positive impact on the child’s life, regardless of their family’s socioeconomic status. For example, access to affordable, high-quality early childhood and preschool programs prepare children for school. They also help parents maintain stable employment and provide for their children. Despite known solutions to reducing child poverty in the United States, there is a lack of political will to take action. That’s why we formed the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in May 2016. We recognized that while there are some dedicated lawmakers, media outlets and advocates fighting for children, there is no long-term national strategy or even a national dialogue to address child poverty. CPAG is working to hold law-

makers accountable for reducing child poverty, and we’re making investments to ensure that every child lives in a household with enough resources to meet their basic needs and support their healthy development. This past April, we released “Our Kids, Our Future,” a compendium of more than 20 policy solutions to significantly reduce child poverty in the United States and support a better quality of life for all children. We all benefit from strategies that lift children out of poverty because these strategies are tied to economic gains that result in a strong, educated and prosperous society.  n

Members of U.S. Child Poverty Action Group


What Rideshare Can Teach Us About Controlling Health Care Costs

Franchising: A Force for Good in Every Local Community

Here’s how technology can help eliminate some of the biggest barriers to quality care.

Behind that national brand is often a small business owner working to enrich their neighborhood.

Each year, millions of people in the United States miss routine medical appointments simply because they don’t have a ride, and research shows that lack of transportation is one of the most common barriers faced by low-income populations in accessing medical care. This is not a new situation. Non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) has been available through Medicaid since its inception in 1966, but many Americans are still unaware of how to use their transportation benefit — or that it even exists. Fortunately, many health plans are turning to technology to optimize their transportation benefits. These plans specialize in managing NEMT benefits with technology not unlike the kind used by rideshare companies worldwide. This technology may take the form of mobile applications that patients use to pinpoint driver locations. It may mean machine learning software that stores patients’ information to match them with the most appropriate provider for their needs. Health care providers see large potential savings by using these technologies and, when done right, patients get a much better transportation experience than they would otherwise. As one member stated, “My driver and I had so much in common, I felt like I was riding with family.” Many health plans are also putting increased emphasis on what the industry calls social determinants of health. These determinants, like food insecurity or unemployment, have a significant impact on generational health and cost to the national health care system. Luckily, the same technologies used to get patients to medical appointments can also be used to get members with social determinants to their jobs, grocery stores, pharmacies, addiction clinics or children’s day cares, thus addressing patients’ transportation needs and overall health from a more holistic perspective. When providers consider people’s broader needs and leverage new technologies, key challenges within our health care delivery system can be more clearly defined and addressed.

here are over 750,000 franchise units in the United States, and most are run by small business owners who consistently outpace the rest of the economy in both job creation and growth. What is less known about the franchise sector is that it leads America’s small businesses in volunteerism, inclusion and local impact. Unlike nationwide corporations, franchise locations are owned by local residents, rooted in that community and committed to it. They leverage the resources and values of a national brand to uplift and support the community where both the owner and the employees live. Consider this — every corporate location sends virtually all its profits back to headquarters and out of your local community, but most franchised businesses send only 5-10 percent to the national franchisor, leaving 90 percent of the wealth in the hands of a local entrepreneur who can spend and invest it locally. In effect, franchises are actually small businesses — they may represent national brands, but their owners are dedicated to making those brands work to improve their local communities. It’s hard to quantify community impact, but at the International Franchise Association Foundation, we keep a snapshot of some statistics with our Franchising Gives Back National Registry. We’ve calculated that over 400 member companies — and their more than 300,000 volunteers — have donated over a quarter of a billion dollars and nearly the same number of volunteer hours to their communities. A full picture of the entire franchise sector may be close to 10 times that number. The story of franchising has always been one of bottom-up empowerment. Did you know that franchise businesses have nearly twice the minority ownership rate of non-franchises? That Hispanic ownership of franchises doubled within

Geoff Griffin, Marketing Manager, National MedTrans



five years? Or that franchises are 50 percent more likely to be co-owned by a couple compared to non-franchise businesses? Or that women’s ownership of franchises also grew by 50 percent over five years? When it comes to community impact, the statistics give us the facts about a sector committed to diversity, inclusion and giving back, but they don’t tell the full story. The

story of franchising’s impact is told by the 8 million Americans who live that story every day. A story of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, and of turning a job and a workplace into a force for good in their communities.  n Steve Romaniello, Former Chair, International Franchise Association, and Founder, IFA Foundation’s Franchising Gives Back initiative


A Healthy Community Begins With a Healthy Downtown

Discover the group working to transform our downtowns into vibrant cultural and economic centers.


hether you call it downtown, the village square or Main Street, there is one place in every city or town where neighbors come to eat, shop and be together. Downtowns are the heartbeat of our communities, and they are also key indicators of larger social and economic trends. A thriving downtown means successful businesses, engaged citizens, cultural events and jobs. In contrast, when city centers are neglected, it often leads to shuttered businesses and lost opportunities. OneMain Financial has been an integral part of the communities we serve throughout our history of more than 100 years. We

understand that people thrive when communities thrive, and we celebrate the role that downtowns play in the cycle. Bringing life back to neglected downtowns is vital for the overall well-being of cities and towns, as well as for their residents. This is why we are thrilled to have partnered with the national non-profit Main Street America for our “Made on Main Street” initiative. “Made on Main Street” provides community action grants for innovative community transformation projects across the country. We’ve awarded seven $25,000 grants to cities in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. Funded

projects include public art displays, pocket parks and community gardens. Our philosophy is pretty simple: When you find yourself in a downtown that looks inviting and clean — and that has public art — you are more likely to eat, shop, grab a coffee, snap a selfie and come back in the future. People are also more likely to make better decisions (like using trash cans instead of littering) when it’s clear that the community cares. Investing in downtown areas is critical to rejuvenating our communities and stimulating virtuous economic cycles, and we’re proud to be taking on such a positive and impactful project.

In an effort to celebrate these beautification projects and bring community members together, we sponsor free family-friendly events in each city, featuring complimentary food, music, games, crafts and local artisans selling their goods. Basically, we throw a party to applaud the unique projects each community has undertaken — and the people that brought them to life. It’s a privilege to help people celebrate their downtowns and embrace what makes their hometowns great places to live.   n Kim Wijkstrom, Senior Vice President, OneMain Financial

THE MONEY YOU NEED IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER. Since 1912, we’ve been providing our customers with more than just the money they need, but the understanding and personalized service they deserve. Because we know having a real person who works and lives in your own community can help make all the difference. And with more than 1,600 branches nationwide, our doors are always open.

Visit All loans subject to our normal credit policies. NH: OneMain Financial Group, LLC - NMLS # 1339418 and OneMain Consumer Loan, Inc. - NMLS # 937358. PA: OneMain Financial Group, LLC and OneMain Financial Services, Inc. and OneMain Consumer Loan, Inc. – Licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. RI: OneMain Consumer Loan, Inc., Rhode Island Licensed Lender and Licensed Small Loan Lender. WA: OneMain Financial Group, LLC Consumer Loan Company License - NMLS # 1339418 and OneMain Consumer Loan, Inc. - Consumer Loan Company License - NMLS # 937358 and OneMain Financial Services, Inc. - Consumer Loan Company License - NMLS # 1056.


The Scott Brothers Dream of Affordable Housing for All

HGTV stars Drew and Jonathan Scott share their passion for changing the lives of lower-income families.


s hosts of HGTV’s “Property Brothers,” Drew and Jonathan Scott have helped hundreds of families build and renovate a wide range of homes. Off camera, they work with Habitat for Humanity, a global nonprofit that partners with people in need of affordable housing. Jonathan says affordable housing is an important issue because “everyone deserves an affordable home where they can wake up in the morning and come back to at the end of the day feeling happy and safe.” Unfortunately, Drew says, the reality is that many Americans will never be able to afford that American dream. “We know there’s not a single state in our nation where a person work-

“A home is not just a collection of wood, nails and studs — a home is where your heart and family will always be.” ing a full-time job earning minimum wage can afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment.” Homeownership is transformative Through their work with Habitat, Drew and Jonathan have seen how homeownership can transform the lives of lower-income families. Earlier this year, they built two houses in Nashville alongside new homeowners Amanda Osborne and Ashlee Walker Pride. Handing off the keys and seeing the kids enter the home for the first time was a moment they won’t soon forget. “They were already squabbling

One house at a time The Scott brothers believe in making affordable housing a reality for everyone.

over who would get which bedroom. You could tell right then that it was a life-changing moment.” Habitat provides more than just a structure, however, and Drew says that “courses in financial planning and homeownership set these first-time homebuyers up for success so they can make a better life for themselves, their family and, ultimately, a community.” That education plus decent, affordable shelter provides a solid foundation for Habitat families. “There is a straight line between housing quality and the well-being of children. Surveys of Habitat homeowners show improved grades, better financial health and parents who are surer that they can meet their family’s needs.” Addressing challenges According to Jonathan, all families deserve affordable housing because those who don’t have it face challenges such as unpredictable rent increases, overcrowded and unhealthy living conditions and neighborhoods where work and educational opportunities are scarce. “Affordable homeownership frees families and fosters the skills and confidence they need to invest in themselves and their communities.” Perhaps even more importantly, Drew says that all families deserve a place to create memories and feel secure under a roof of their own. “A home is not just a collection of wood, nails and studs — a home is where your heart and family will always be.” ■

Jill Coody Smits


Community Matters: Remaking Affordable Housing in Harlem


hen internationally renowned architect Sir David Adjaye was selected to design a building for an affordable housing not-for-profit, people took notice. When the project included a children’s museum of art and storytelling along with a preschool — in addition to 124 beautifully appointed, permanent living spaces for low-income and formerly homeless people and families — it transformed any preconception of what supportive housing is “supposed” to be. The development, where many residents also work, is called Sugar


By integrating housing, art and education, the Sugar Hill development is shaking things up. Hill, a truly mixed-use building where Harlem residents interact daily with working artists, educators and neighbors to create a place of belonging and opportunity. Inspiration and relief Ellen Baxter is the executive director of Broadway Housing Communities, the non-profit behind Sugar Hill. She has found that prioritizing the arts and culture in the project has “elevated the spirit of community engagement, enriched the space for everyone” and brought “inspiration and relief” to struggling communities.

No stigma attached When a building truly speaks to the people it impacts, as Sugar Hill does, neither the building nor its residents are stigmatized in the way that supportive housing too often is. Entering the building doesn’t “mark you.” The preschool builds a sense of ownership in young residents and in the community — kids mix with children

from other backgrounds, interact with their teachers in the neighborhood, and visit with each other at the museum’s family days, festivals and art exhibits. The museum, too, combats the stigma of poverty and homelessness, with 17,000 square feet of space designed to fuel the imaginations and dreams of its visitors. Sugar Hill is a true integration of art, housing, eco-

Coming Together SHCMAS Nights at Sugar Hill Jazz

nomic development and education, a place for the neighborhood to celebrate its history and culture while creating its future. n

Sarah Westlake, Managing Editor, ArtPlace America

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Community Development  
Community Development