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Problem Solving Must-Reads: Banks That Actually Invest in the Poor

Plus: A voucher system to ward off gentrification, and using crowdsourcing to create maps of crisis areas

Problem Solving Must-Reads: Banks That Actually Invest in the Poor

Plus: A voucher system to ward off gentrification, and using crowdsourcing to create maps of crisis areas

Here at The Citizen, we do problem-solving journalism, looking for ideas and solutions to move the region forward and make a better city. Here are some other great ideas for solving the world’s problems, from media outlets around the globe:

Banking on Justice

Photo: YES! Magazine

In the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions in the U.S., buying a home is often out of reach for its citizens. There aren’t many nonprofits with resources to help and foundations are scarce, so Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) step in to help low-income people build assets. CDFIs are small, mom-and-pop banks or credit unions that help poor residents escape poverty by teaching them the dangers of payday lending, encouraging worker-owned cooperatives and providing them with credit. At least 50 percent of these CDFI banks’ assets are invested in low-income regions. CDFIs only own 0.4 percent of all U.S. banking assets, but have been proven to change lives in the Delta. (via YES! Magazine)

Chicago Housing Authority Gets New Affordable Housing Tool

Photo: Next City

Instead of letting the 89-year-old single-resident occupancy location around the corner from Second City improv theater in Chicago become the luxury condos they easily could become (the theater is where Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Steve Colbert had their starts), the Chicago Housing Authority has created a way to keep the units for low-income people. Through a project-based voucher program, landlords enter a contract with a local housing authority and dedicate a certain number of units to be rented out to low-income families. Developers usually pay a 20 percent down-payment on a building and CHA will fund it to ensure the use of the project-based voucher program. The federally funded program encourages developers to rent out their units to both wealthy and low-income people. (via Next City)

To Map Crisis Zones, Humanitarian Groups Turn to the Crowd

Photo: CityLab

In remote villages, emerging cities and informal settlements, it’s hard for humanitarian workers to know the best route to take when crisis hits. MapSwipe, an app launched this summer, allows users to send images of unmapped and crisis-ridden regions throughout the world to identify settlements, roads and other features. By collecting this information, mappers can speed up their work and, therefore, medical professionals can get working on the ground faster. MapSwipe was created in collaboration with the Missing Maps project and is headed by the American Red Cross, the British Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders among others.  (via CityLab)

Photo header: YES! Magazine

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