Home is where life happens and futures begin. But it’s tough to plan for your future if you’re struggling to pay rent. Or the only neighborhood you can afford has under-resourced schools or unsafe streets. Or if you feel like your voice doesn’t count in your own community.
Wealth, power and dignity are out of reach for too many Americans. In fact, 70% of Americans born into the lowest income bracket will never reach middle income. In 2016, the net worth of an average white family was nearly 10 times that of an average Black family.
That disparity emerged from generations of compounded disadvantage caused by structural racism in all systems, including the housing system. At fault are historic discriminatory practices like redlining and segregation, and current ones like exclusionary zoning and discrimination against residents who pay rent using vouchers.
A Path to Wealth and Equity
Enterprise is working to make home and community pathways to upward mobility. We’re building these pathways by developing community-designed strategies with local and national partners across different sectors.
Our approach is collaborative, and we are committed to carrying out this work with an anti-racist lens. Our focus is on Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) communities that are most likely to experience economic stagnation and downward mobility because of a legacy of racism.
We integrate housing, effective services, education and access to family-sustaining employment and wealth-building opportunities. Together with our partners, we seek to change the policies, practices and power dynamics that have historically withheld opportunity, undermined self-efficacy or promoted exclusion.
What is Upward Mobility?
Three core principles define mobility from poverty. They are: economic success; power and autonomy; and being valued in community. Enterprise built on that framework to identify five housing components – the housing bundle – that are essential to upward mobility. They include: housing stability; housing quality; housing affordability; neighborhood context; and housing that builds assets and wealth.
Every community will approach these five elements of the housing bundle based on specific conditions and circumstances. But it's important that communities tackle them all at once. By focusing on housing security, we can reduce racial disparities that impede upward mobility.
Housing and Education Partnerships
It's no secret that children learn better when they live in a stable home in a safe community. But where you live determines where you go to school, and school funding depends on neighborhood affluence. That means parents with lower incomes can’t send their kids to better schools. We must change that.
Our collaboration with StriveTogether breaks down silos between the housing and education systems to make change happen. The goal is to build effective, cross-sector partnerships focused on upward mobility from poverty.