Enterprise was born out of the vision that an affordable home is a means to well-being and success. Yet for the majority of families living in poverty, particularly for Black and brown families, economic stability and mobility remain out of reach.
Today, 70 percent of Americans born in the lowest income quintile will never reach middle income. Due to generations of compounded disadvantage caused by structural racism, in 2016, the net worth of an average white family was nearly 10 times greater than that of an average Black family.
Even among households with similar incomes, racial wealth gaps are significant. Research also shows that Black Americans are more likely than their white peers to experience downward mobility as a result of systemic inequities.
Enterprise has identified five key housing outcomes that determine economic success, power and autonomy, and being valued in community – the three core principles that define mobility, according to the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty. We frame these housing outcomes as the “housing bundle” because they are interconnected and must work together for housing to act as a pathway to upward mobility:
|1. Housing stability||2. Housing quality||3. Housing affordability|
|4. Housing & neighborhood
as a platform
|5. Housing that builds
assets & wealth
New Partners and Priorities
Our Economic Mobility initiative draws on Enterprise’s core strengths of convening and collaborating with diverse networks – while injecting new partners and racial equity priorities toward large-scale removal of barriers to economic opportunity.
- Systems change: A long-term commitment to change at multiple scales, from people to properties, to neighborhoods to whole systems
- Anti-racist principles: Engagement that intentionally undoes racism, accepting that everything we do combats or supports white supremacist culture
- Cross-sector partnerships: Driving to identify common priorities, understand baseline conditions, and develop locally relevant solutions
How We Work
We support networks that integrate housing security with resident services, education and family-sustaining employment. These networks also work to change the systems that have withheld opportunity, undermined self-efficacy or promoted exclusion, particularly in low-wealth Black and brown communities.
The initiative is committed to advancing upward mobility through an anti-racist, multi-disciplinary approach.
- We build networks that integrate affordable housing, services and supports, education and family-sustaining employment opportunities.
- We bring together residents, community leaders and organizers, researchers, economic anchors, housing developers and philanthropists to strengthen and expand successful, local programs.
- We leverage financial resources and advocate for policies to create meaningful change.
- We identify the gaps and system changes needed to create real and measurable results in upward mobility for families.
Piloting, Testing, Scaling Solutions
Our initiative is working in 11 regions, from New York City to Los Angeles, from Racine, Wisconsin, to Atlanta, Georgia, bringing together partners to advance economic mobility for low-income families.
What We’re Fighting For
Enterprise is committed to eliminating disparities in economic outcomes through a systems- and people-focused partnership model centered on housing security. No one should be denied the opportunity to achieve financial stability and accumulate wealth. But housing costs outpace incomes in the vast majority of communities nationwide.
- 70 percent of Americans raised in the bottom quintile remain below the middle as adults. (Pew Charitable Trusts)
- 75 percent of neighborhoods redlined from the 1930s to the 1960s are today home to people of color with modest means – reflecting the enduring impact of government- sanctioned segregation polices and ongoing lack of access to capital, leading to lower homeownership rates, home values and credit scores. (National Community Reinvestment Coalition)
- Homeownership continues to offer financial gains and a primary way to build wealth, but Black homeownership rates have declined to levels not seen since the 1960s. (Urban Institute)
- Last year, a two-bedroom apartment was not affordable anywhere in the country for low- and minimum-wage earners. (National Low Income Housing Coalition)
- 11 million renters spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing costs – and Black households represent nearly twice the share of white households paying this amount. (Joint Center for Housing Studies)
- The 2008 recession and the foreclosure crisis, increasing homelessness and, more recently, the COVID-19 pandemic highlight persistent systemic racial and economic inequities.
- Students of all races perform better over their lifetimes when they attend well-resourced, racially integrated schools with early education support – access to which is largely determined by housing options. (The Century Foundation)
Who We Work With
We’re working with a diverse group of leading national organizations to remove the barriers to economic mobility.
- StriveTogether: a national network of 70 local cradle-to-career partnerships striving to achieve racial equity and economic mobility with whom we partner to support housing and education partnerships.
- Urban Institute: a nonprofit research organization with whom we partner on evidence base, field-building, and impact measurement.
- EMPath: which transforms people’s lives by helping them move out of poverty and provides other institutions, like Enterprise, with the tools to systematically do the same.