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The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “Mentoring”

More About Housing Tax Credits

Much is being written and discussed about the Governor’s decision to terminate Missouri State Affordable Housing Tax Credits. The loss of these credits will make affordable housing difficult to do and adversely affect a certain category of poor person. I am not in favor of eliminating these credits simply because there is really nothing else to work with in the affordable housing arena.

Nevertheless, the greed of some members of the affordable housing industry made this decision by the Governor inevitable. There are many developers, syndicators, attorneys, and consultants who have gotten rich off the program. Too much of a dollar of tax credits does not go for actual housing expenses. Many in the industry do not really care about poor people.

In addition, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program is both inefficient and ineffective. Inefficient for the reasons cited above plus a hugely complicated program. Ineffective because the program does not house poor people who need it the most. Tenants still must pay a $400-$600 monthly rent. Homeless people need not apply.

If the traditional public housing program was allowed the same per unit expenditures and site location it would have been a more efficient and effective housing program. Unfortunately, anything that smacks of public involvement is frowned upon these days. Written by Paul Dribin

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Great Groups in St. Louis

This blog tends to focus on the problems going on in St. Louis. Today I want to write about organizations doing really positive work to improve the community and the lives of people. Here are the groups:

1. Beyond Housing- This organization led by a brilliant and dynamic President, Chris Krehmeyer is doing amazing work. They are most active in the area around the Normandy School District doing total community development though the 24:1 program. Efforts include housing, a movie theatre, health facilities, a bank, matching funds for college and many other program. This organization goes about community development the right way.

2.Better Family Life-This organization located in north St. Louis is focused on housing, financial literacy, credit building, and housing counseling. They are the only community based organization I know that is attempting to resolve the violence on the streets of North St. Louis.

3. DeSales Housing Development Corporation- This organization has been successful for years in developing and rehabilitating housing in the Benton Park area and providing a wholistic approach to community development.

4. Rise- This non profit has worked for years to build and rehabilitate affordable housing throughout St. Louis and to provide support and technical assistance to non profits.

5. Justine Petersen Housing Corporation- This organization provides micro loans to small businesses, credit counseling, and provides sources of financing and saving to people who do not have a regular relationship with a bank or poor credit.

6. St. Louis City Acadamy- This private school provides a world class education to mostly low income African American students in the City of St. Louis. All the students receive scholarships.

7. Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls- This charter school led by Mary Stillman provides STEM education to girls regardless of economic background. They have now begun their high school program.

8, Boys Hope/Girls Hope- BHGH provides a 24 hour living environment and education to academically strong students from a difficult background who would benefit from a change in living conditions. The scholars are provided with 24:7 support, attend regular high schools, and most of them go to and succeed in college.

I am sure there are other worthy organizations but these are the ones for which I am familiar. Written by Paul Dribin

Investment in Children’s Services

Brookings published an article today by Bruce Katz and Ross Tilchin entitle Investing in the next generation: A bottom-up approach to creating better outcomes for children and youth. The article states quite simply that strong investment in these services are the key to improving the quality of city life moving forward. Attached is the article:

INTRODUCTION

The American dream is built on the promise of upward social mobility. In the middle of the 20th century, rates of upward mobility improved across the socioeconomic spectrum. But over the course of the past 30 years, the vast majority of our population has seen mobility rates stagnate.[1] For too many, the American dream has stalled. 

Authors

Bruce Katz

Centennial Scholar – Centennial Scholar Initiative

Twitter bruce_katz

R

Ross Tilchin

Senior Policy and Research Assistant

Restoring higher levels of social mobility will be among the most important political, social, and economic challenges of our time. Already, we’ve witnessed how frustration over this stagnation can destabilize our national institutions and divide our society. The longer we wait to address the issue, the more tumultuous our politics will become.

Making greater and more effective investments in children and youth will be the best way to improve social mobility throughout the nation. Research has demonstrated the positive long-term effects of providing a specific set of coordinated interventions from “cradle to career.”[2] Despite the conclusive evidence, our nation has been unable to provide those in need with access to the right kinds of services.

The time to act is now. The question is, who will lead the effort to expand these proven strategies? Over the past decade, it has become apparent that we cannot rely upon the federal government or the states. Washington and many state governments have been hijacked by partisanship, leading to paralysis on or hostility toward many of the policies and interventions necessary for improving outcomes for children and youth. The Trump administration’s May 2017 budget proposal called for nearly $10 billion in cuts to after-school funding, summer initiatives, teacher training, financial aid for lower-income students, and similar programs.[3]

The budgetary trend lines are also unmistakable. At the federal level, demographic realities are driving up spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This will place enormous pressure on Washington’s contributions to programs for children and youth, which are expected to decline over the next decade by 25 percent or more as a percentage of GDP.[4] As Eugene Steuerle notes in his 2014 book Dead Men Ruling, only 2 percent of the projected $1.5 trillion increase in federal spending over the next decade will go to children.[5] And while some state governments have demonstrated a steady commitment to improving outcomes for youth, many are providing less funding for children now than they were before the Great Recession.[6]

Related

Cities and refugees: The German experience

Getting attached: Parental attachment and child development

Localizing the economic impact of research and development

Fortunately, as higher levels of government have faltered, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas have stepped up. Local leaders have recognized that the issue of stagnant opportunity is far too urgent to wait for other levels of government to act. In communities across the country, leaders in local governments have joined forces with nonprofits, philanthropies, and businesses to increase the magnitude, quality, and coordination of cradle-to-career investments in the next generation.

These communities have realized that the existing composition of investments in young people, dominated by the safety net and the public education system, are not enough to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Technology and global competition have come to demand a higher degree of skills training than ever before, and many of the fastest growing demographic groups in our country face the steepest educational and developmental challenges. For local leaders, ensuring that children have access to meaningful opportunities is more than a social responsibility—it is an economic imperative for their communities.

Communities are therefore expanding programs that stretch well beyond the traditional set of public services provided to youth. They are investing in efforts like nurse visiting programs, early childhood education, supplemental academic and social curricula, after-school programs, and summer learning initiatives. They are tailoring interventions to align with their specific needs, coordinating across sectors and silos, and most importantly, drawing upon new sources of revenue to finance these efforts. 

Related Books

Upcoming The New Localism
By Bruce Katz and Jeremy Nowak
2017

Dream Hoarders
By Richard V. Reeves
2017

The Metropolitan Revolution
By Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley
2014

These locally driven approaches to investing in children and youth are a part of a larger national trend. Over the past decade or so, cities and metropolitan areas have risen to the forefront of national problem solving across a wide range of policy areas. Solutions to many of our toughest problems—mitigating the effects of

climate change, financing major infrastructure projects, creating more innovative economies, to name a few—are now being crafted at the local level.[7] In communities of all stripes, leaders in every sector have come together to solve local problems at a level of sophistication that would have been unthinkable a few decades ago. As this self-sufficient and intensely networked style of local leadership has spread, it has given rise to a national movement—a New American Localism.

This paper provides an overview of the challenges associated with improving outcomes for children and youth, the intergovernmental obstacles that communities face as they expand supplemental cradle-to-career services, and the strategies individual communities have drawn upon to deliver better results for the next generation.

FOOTNOTES

1
David Leonhardt, “The American Dream, Quantified at Last,” New York Times, December 8, 2016.

2
Isabelle V. Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow, “How Much Could We Improve Children’s Life Chances by Intervening Early and Often?” Brookings Institution, March 2015.

3
Stephenie Johnson et al., “The Trump-DeVos Budget Would Dismantle Public Education, Hurting Vulnerable Kids, Working Families, and Teachers,” Center for American Progress, March 17, 2017.

4
Sara Edelstein  et al., “Kids Share 2016: Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2015 and Future Projections,” Urban Institute, 2016.

5
Eugene Steuerle, Dead Men Ruling: How to Restore Fiscal Freedom and Rescue Our Future (New York, NY: Century Foundation, 2014).

6
Michael Leachman  et al., “Most States Have Cut School Funding, and Some Continue Cutting,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,” January 25, 2016.

7
Megan Greenwalt, “DC Water Authority Unveils WTE Project,” Waste 360, November 3, 2015; Meghan McCarty and Aaron Mendelson, “LA Says ‘Yes’ to Tax Increase for Transportation,” 89.3 KPCC, November 9, 2016; Bruce Katz and Julie Wagner, “What a City Needs to Foster Innovation,” Brookings Institution, January 16, 2014.

Student Mentoring

Much of course has been written about poverty, racism, etc. Nothing has worked very well in addressing these problems. Let me propose a very simple idea, mentoring of students.

I have been a mentor at various times in my life and found it a great experience. More important, the young person being mentored and their families seemed to appreciate it.

I am proposing a mentoring program that would address the needs of all the at risk students in the St. Louis metro area. Volunteers need to be sought and programs established. The cost if huge but on a per student basis, quite inexpensive. Furthermore data shows it works.

I am working on starting a program at one school. Anyone else interested?

Boys Hope/Girls Hope

This is another article in a series about individuals and groups doing great work in St. Louis.

Boys Hope- Girls Hope is a non profit that takes a boarding educational experience for inner city kids who are in at risk social situations but academically talented. The facility is housed in Richmond Heights and houses 10 male and 10 female scholars. These scholars range in grade from sixth grade to seniors in high school. They attend school at public and private schools. Many receive scholarships. The facility also provides meals, transportation, and extensive social services. Most of these students end up going to college, and about 65% graduate. Many of the alumni mentor the scholars.

In addition, Boys/Hope Girls Hope provides a non residential program which provides all the same programs except housing.

Mentoring

I have volunteered as a mentor to young boys on several occasions. In all cases both the mentor and I have found it to be a positive experience 

In a previous post I have commented on the  positive outcomes at St. DLouis city Academy resulting from strong parental involvement. Mentoring can at least be a partial solution to help kids not fortunate enough to have parents or other family members available.  This also applies to prevention if criminal behavior 

I am calling for mentoring programs for all at risk children and families. Much if this can be accomplished by extensive volunteer efforts. Organizations such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters already Dinan outstanding job. Funding will also be necessary. It will be funding very well spent 

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