Triple Aim Impact in Mixed Income Housing
In 2015, we embarked on a new partnership with The National Initiative on Mixed Income Housing (NIMC) and Dr. Mark Joseph at Case Western University to develop the Triple Aim framework. We work with owners, managers, residents and other partners of mixed income developments towards a practical and connected strategy to achieve:
- Operating Efficiency: Increased Property Revenue and Reduced Costs
- Community Transformation: Physical, Economic and Social Revitalization
- Individual Transformation: Social and Economic Advancement of All Residents
Soon after forming the partnership with Dr. Joseph and NIMC, we began participating, along with our close partner, Yerodin Avent, on a dedicated team of people supporting two of the most ambitious, locally-controlled public housing transformations initiatives in the country, the New Communities Initiative in Washington DC and the Hope SF Initiative in San Francisco, Ca. Please take a moment to get to know each of these efforts. These teams are led by Dr. Joseph.
In each city, local officials are attempting to spark, guide and resource the redevelopment of four old public housing developments into thriving, mixed income communities where every resident can achieve a high quality of life, despite the extreme economic pressure to displace those who are lower income. We signed on to provide technical assistance because the leaders of these efforts are genuinely attempting to create the kind of underlying operating culture in each of the redeveloping neighborhoods that respects every human being as a contributing and valued member of the community.
Both of these initiatives are long term and it is much too early to determine the results, but we are particularly encouraged by our ability to help create “rooms’ and “moments” where people are extreme income differences are getting to know one another and working together on small initiatives to improve the quality of life for everyone. To learn more about our approach in these highly chaotic and challenging conditions, we encourage you to read two reports recently authored by our partner, Joni Hirsch, linked here and a blog post we authored for Shelterforce Magazine on the challenge of “micro-segregation”, linked here.
It is important for us to note that we, like many others, remain skeptical of the promise of mixed-income communities to achieve much of what community development and affordable housing professionals, among others, are relying on it to achieve. We feel there are baked-in racial and class assumptions to this approach that need to be stated and challenged at every turn. There are also competing interests among those who advocate for, invest in, build, manage and live, in these places, which are dominated by the interests of owners/investors looking to maximize the return on their investment. However aspirational, and perhaps even achievable the goal of genuine and equitable mixing, it is not the only, nor even the most important goal of the major players involved.
That being said, we do believe that healthy communities need to strive to create spaces for genuine mixing and exchange across lines of difference. At a time in our country that some are calling a new era of segregation, there are precious few opportunities to bring resources, intentionality, and planning to this work. For that reason we have immersed ourselves in some dynamic initiatives across the country, working alongside others who are taking bold steps to make this happen in their communities. And we have learned some lessons.