Sound public policy makes a difference for low income neighborhoods. LIIF partners with leading advocacy and community development organizations to strengthen public institutions and policies that support low income families and communities. LIIF informs policymakers about the benefits of community capital investments in poverty alleviation, and advocates for public policies that further these goals.
LIIF’s policy efforts are the key to taking our work to scale. One of LIIF’s key strengths is our ability to combine public and private capital to benefit local communities. However, capital alone will not achieve our mission—to increase our impact our policy efforts work towards systemic change. Our programs each leverage public sector resources and partnerships to reach families below the poverty threshold. LIIF’s policy program is a critical piece of our strategy to address the epidemic of poverty affecting 37 million Americans today. Read below for more information our policy work across our program areas.
As a part of the community development field, LIIF and other organizations like us are making a critical difference to help low income people. Through our policy work, LIIF works to advance the community capital industry nationwide and helps to mobilize public resources for distressed communities across the country. LIIF’s community development agenda has two primary goals:
- Protect mainstay community capital programs, such as the US Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund programs and New Markets Tax Credits
- Support innovative, new initiatives to grow the community development field
LIIF plays an active role in the housing finance policy reform debate and advocates for policies that support affordable housing development across the nation. LIIF is a member of the National Housing Conference, the National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. In addition, LIIF worked with a coalition of partners to advocate for the creation of the Capital Magnet Fund, a federal grant program aimed at encouraging investment in affordable housing developments. LIIF’s President and CEO Nancy Andrews testified before the Senate Banking Committee as part of these efforts.
LIIF advocates for local, state and federal policies that support child care facility development through increasing resources for capital and technical assistance. In order to meet the growing demand for quality, affordable child care throughout the country, LIIF plays a leadership role along with National Children’s Facilities Network in advocating for the creation of a pool of federal funds for technical assistance, business planning and renovation and expansion of child care facilities. LIIF’s child care policy activities also include advocating for increased child care subsidies, such as Head Start, and other early childhood programs that enable low income families to access licensed, quality child care. On the local level, LIIF works to foster regulatory environments that are conducive to the construction of child care facilities in underserved communities.
Public charter schools have emerged as a promising alternative to some traditional public schools in underserved neighborhoods. LIIF is an advocate for increased resources for financing and technical assistance for high-quality charter schools. Lack of access to facilities is cited as a primary barrier to expansion for many high-performing charter schools. These schools do not have access to many of the traditional public funding mechanisms available to other public schools, such as a dedicated stream of capital funding and the ability to levy taxes. This puts charter schools at a distinct disadvantage in making operational and facility enhancements. As part of our policy efforts to support high-performing schools, LIIF chairs the Charter School Lenders’ Coalition (CSLC)
, a national organization of community development groups supporting policies that benefit charter schools. Through its leadership of the CSLC, LIIF is working to ensure that low wealth communities have access to high-quality schools to expand opportunities for thousands of children. Learn more at: www.charterlenders.org
LIIF supports policies that encourage green development in low income communities, where building stocks are older or developers may not be as experienced with green building practices. Through our investments and data collection efforts, LIIF seeks to demonstrate that the costs of green, affordable developments are competitive with conventional projects. These buildings can provide health and income savings benefits to occupants, while also being beneficial for the environment.
LIIF believes strongly that access to fresh, healthy food is a critical component of improving the lives of America’s impoverished communities. Increased local availability of fresh, healthy food has been linked to families making more nutritious food choices and maintaining better health. LIIF supports local, state and federal policies, such as the national Healthy Foods Financing Initiative, that support food access for low income communities.
TOD projects have historically served more affluent populations. Living near to easy, affordable transportation and neighborhood services is a recognized advantage for people at all income levels, but high demand combined with the high cost of developing TOD projects often means projects are developed for higher income clients. Without action on the part of policy-makers and community developers, the benefits of TOD will skip low income communities entirely. For this reason, LIIF is working with philanthropic and public sector partners to support equitable TOD projects. LIIF encourages policymakers to support federal transportation and community development investments that ensure access to transit for low wealth communities. As part of this effort, LIIF also advocates for the inclusion of essential services, such as child care facilities and schools, near TOD sites to build strong, sustainable local economies.