This week in community development: 3/21/14

Every week, Praxia Partners shares important community-building news. Check out what we’ve been reading this week.

Economic opportunity and development

  • Praxia Partners’ Joe Recchie has been invited to present at the upcoming conference, Detroit Bankruptcy and Beyond: Organizing for Change in Distressed Cities on April 7. He’ll share his thoughts on the ideas discussed, so check back here for more in the coming weeks.
  • Wealthy families have more opportunities to make sure their children stay affluent, while children from lower-income families have less and less opportunity. In the American Prospect, Robert Kuttner discusses the “puzzle of inequality.” He writes:

The wider the income extremes, the more money the elite has to spend assuring that their progeny stay in the family social class. The worse life becomes for ordinary people, the more incentive the rich have to extend privilege to their kids. Meanwhile, the opportunity ladders that help young adults without affluent parents have been kicked away. College tuitions have increased far faster than incomes, school loans have been substituted for grants, housing has become less affordable, pay scales for entry-level jobs have flattened, spending on social supports for the poor has declined.

Healthy communities

  • March for MealsMeals on Wheels is a cost-effective and compassionate organization. How cost-effective? Every $1 spent on Meals on Wheels results in a $50 savings in Medicaid savings alone, and sequestering the program could cost the country $489 million annually. This March, Meals on Wheels is launching its 12th annual March for Meals campaign. You can find events in your community here or learn more about senior hunger here.
  • Bob Van Meter of Boston location of Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) reflected on how communities directly affect residents’ health. He wrote, “In Boston, for instance, LISC integrates a public health perspective into our programming in neighborhoods like Mattapan, Codman Square and Roxbury so we can support better access to fresh food and safer streets, as well as green and healthy housing and community health centers. They all help people live better.”
  • You can read about how Praxia Partners integrates service enrichment into affordable housing to improve the lives and health of communities.
  • Remind your loved ones: the deadline to enroll in health care is March 31!

Environmental stewardship

  • Community Renewable Energy rounded up the latest news about renewable energy progress in Africa, which is creating green careers and helping rural communities access clean, reliable energy.
  • Community-owned solar power is on the rise in America. This week, Kansas announced plans for its first shared solar project (Utility Projects) and Wisconsin will begin construction on a 1,000+ PV panel shared solar farm. (Alt Energy Mag)
  • Renewable energy doesn’t just save budgets– renewable energy can actually save millions of lives. The way we address climate change can dramatically improve the lives of the poorest households on the planet. Rachel Pritzker writes, “Whatever romantic views one has of wood-burning, the sheer health consequences of breathing smoke are terrifying. Two million people around the world die prematurely from breathing smoke each year and half of all of pneumonia deaths among children under the age of five are from breathing indoor smoke.”

What do you think was the most important community development story this week? Share your insights and thoughts below or by email.

For news about solar power and sustainability, visit Community Renewable Energy’s blog.

About Holly

Holly Jensen is a writer and poet who has worked with nonprofits and businesses for over a decade. She also serves as editor of The Ghazal Page, an international literary journal.
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