Empowering Individuals and Families: Community Links and Opportunities

How can the housing, built environment, and the community uplift low-income individuals and families and empower them? Are there examples you are aware of where access to better housing (or access to better services) helped change the economic mobility outlook for these individuals?

What are the links between empowerment and housing?

Please share any thoughts, comments, links, or examples you might have in the comments below.

Are there any existing communities or projects in particular that have inspired you, as far as their impact and a novel approach to bettering the lives of their residents?

@Venkat, @jessica_brown, @dr2tom, I’d like to draw your attention to this discussion in our Charter Communities Prize Design, which will seek to transform public housing and provide a self-sustaining life beyond subsidized housing.

We’re interested in examples of better housing leading to better economic prospects for their residents. Are you aware of any?

I don’t think this was meant for me-- I’m not involved in public housing.

I know! But I wondered if your background in design thinking, and you having worked in so many countries, has given you a perspective on this issue?

We encourage community members to contribute across our prize designs, not just the ones in which they have an expertise per se. Most of the people we’ll consult for Charter Communities will be an experts in (public) housing, but we find that it’s often useful to ask a few relative outsiders for their take as well. They might ask foundational questions, or come up with suggestions that people who’ve worked in the field for a long time hadn’t thought of.

So please, don’t hesitate to join the discussion!

@kennedyc, @yusuke, @SUGG, can you point us to any examples of improvements in housing leading to improvements in economic prospects?

@fferguson, @ariigati, @LanceDC3, @aponsor, you may also have insight for us on this question. We’re looking for concrete examples where access to better housing, or access to better services, helped improve the economic prospects of low-income families and individuals. Please let us know if you’re aware of any!

@JimKing, thank you for joining the community! I wonder if you know of any proven links between housing and empowerment?

@NickOttens @NickAzer

As an example of the impact affordable housing has on people’s lives, please watch this video: https://youtu.be/XsGepAwMvq8

Shubhashray has handed over homes to 1000 low-income families in north-west India and has 4000 in the pipeline.

Thanks, @prernakuhad! The work you’re doing is amazing!

I’d love to learn more about what you’re seeing in terms of empowerment. We assume that giving people better housing will improve their economic prospects, but we need to substantiate that with case studies and examples. What is your experience?

@sglaude1 @sunshinem and @dpelleti - you each seem to have a lot of experience working with some of the communities in the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area. Any lessons you’ve learned from your experiences that are relevant to this topic? What are some low-income communities you’ve seen that have really taken steps to better the lives of those who lived there? It’d be great to see any input you might have from your region!

@NickOttens The most transformative impact is on the woman of the household. She has more privacy, time, agency and therefore self-esteem.
One of our residents told us that buying her own home allowed her to finally bring her pre-schooler daughter to live with the family.( Their previous rented accommodation was so unsafe that they’d had to leave their only female child with the grandparents in the village.)
Another resident started a distance learning course because she now had so much time and privacy on her hands having moved into her own home (no constant squabbling with neighbors and landlord over shared resources and infrastructure)
Yet another resident mentioned how having a permanent address (in India, leases are typically given for 11 months at a time only which means the family has to keep moving homes and sometimes schools every 11 months) allowed him to bring his wife and children to live with him which in turn meant his wife could find work and double the family income.

Thank you, @prernakuhad! That’s very helpful!

@HousingMichigan, @RBarragan, thank you for joining our community! I’d like to invite you to this discussion as well and ask if you’re aware of more examples of improvements in housing leading to improvements in economic prospects, especially for low-income individuals and families?