Why No Neighborhood Should Get Left Behind - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Why No Neighborhood Should Get Left Behind

Why No Neighborhood Should Get Left Behind

By Hon. Mel Martinez



Because spreading prosperity beyond the urban core is paramount.

By Hon. Mel Martinez

OZY and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have partnered to bring you an inside look at how entrepreneurs are coming up with innovative methods to help the communities around them. Enjoy the rest of our special series here.

Detroit’s newly revitalized downtown and midtown are buzzing, but not everyone is feeling the thrill. While high-rises glimmer and new businesses shine, some neighborhoods are at risk of being left behind. This disparity harms families and communities, but the risks extend even further. Revitalizing only key areas is not a sustainable model because long-term economic success also depends upon neighborhoods.

So how do we spread prosperity beyond the urban core? JPMorgan Chase & Co. is supporting several big-picture initiatives to tackle dilapidated housing, provide mixed-income housing and improve infrastructure in surrounding neighborhoods. We’re even challenging historical community development efforts that have long treated each aspect of neighborhoods — housing, education, health care and transportation — separately.

We’re making progress, but we know that it takes a village.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Partnerships for Raising Opportunity in Neighborhoods (PRO Neighborhoods), a $125 million, five-year initiative, supports locally driven solutions to revitalize distressed neighborhoods across the country. Rather than a same-old, same-old approach, PRO is creating vibrant, healthy and inclusive communities by investing in all aspects of a neighborhood in a holistic way.

We’re making progress, but we know that it takes a village. That’s why PRO Neighborhoods holds an annual competition to encourage community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to collaborate on local solutions that promote inclusive growth in their own communities. One of last year’s winners, the Detroit Strategic Neighborhoods Initiative, brings together public, private and philanthropic partners to improve a targeted group of neighborhoods by stabilizing real estate, creating jobs, providing mixed-income housing and improving infrastructure. 

JPMorgan Chase & Co. committed $5.5 million to support a $30 million Strategic Neighborhood Fund, a partnership between Invest Detroit, the Detroit Development Fund and the Opportunity Resource Fund. Over the next decade, the fund will funnel resources toward more housing and services in the West Village, Southwest Detroit and Livernois-McNichols neighborhoods — all of which have been targeted for revitalization. And to fill a critical gap in financing projects for Motor City neighborhoods, last year JPMorgan Chase announced a commitment of $4 million over four years in seed funding to support the creation of Develop Detroit, a full-service nonprofit real estate development organization. Develop Detroit will work to maintain existing affordable residential homes and build new, inclusive mixed-use housing projects in targeted neighborhoods.

We’re also tackling blight. Dilapidated housing drains city resources, erodes the tax base, decreases property values and puts a community’s health and safety at risk. Our firm has committed $25 million to support a broad range of organizations and efforts in Detroit to end blight. In 2015, for example, we provided $5.5 million to community lender Liberty Bank — the third-largest African-American-owned bank in the country — to create the Liberty Bank Home Restoration Program. Liberty Bank is extending $20 million in affordable mortgage and rehabilitation loans — with more flexible terms and down-payment assistance, thanks to our support — to qualified buyers and existing homeowners.

On this front, JPMorgan Chase & Co. supports the work of the Motor City Mapping project, a high-tech approach by Loveland Technologies to digitize property information and help city officials and community groups work together to transform blighted properties — they’ve already mapped more than 380,000 properties across the city. The initiative is a model for how innovative solutions can ease problems that plague neighborhoods.

We realize our holistic solutions and financial commitments spread over the course of several years will not all have immediate impact. But each milestone helps outline a path for more progress.

Ultimately, we hope that no neighborhood gets left behind. That’s vital for the families living around Detroit today, and for future generations.  

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