Economic Insecurity

Tracking the new world of metropolitan economic insecurity.

Key Publications
Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures: Lessons from Local & Regional Practice
By Todd Swanstrom and James Brooks (National League of Cities,  November 2010). “Resilience in the Face of Foreclosures: Lessons from Local and Regional Practice,” highlights the ways in which cities and counties, and their elected local leaders, are successfully responding to the continuing waves of home mortgage foreclosures, vacant properties and destabilized neighborhoods. The foreclosure […]Read more
Building a Resilient Social Safety Net
By Sarah Reckhow and Margaret Weir, in Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects, volume 4 (Brookings Institution Press, February 2012) In their chapter in this volume, Reckhow and Weir track the shift of poverty to the suburbs and document the lack of social services and philanthropic networks in those areas to support struggling families. […]Read more
Hollow State Politics: Bureaucratic Autonomy and Social Welfare Policy
By Sarah Reckhow, paper presented at States as Facilitators or Obstructionists of Local Governments, [pdf], Florida State University, February 2010.Read more
Key Questions

  • How have philanthropies and nonprofit groups responded to the dispersion of poverty and its new components?
  • Where have foreclosures and subprime loans concentrated, and what is their impact on local communities?
  • How can leaders use the foreclosure crisis to create a strategic vision for housing policy?

Key Findings

  • In three of four study regions—Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit—suburban poverty grew much faster from 2000 to 2008 than urban poverty.
  • Private and community foundations are an important source of anti-poverty program funding. Yet poor suburbs receive the fewest grants.
  • Grant-making to promote systemic change to the social safety net is strongest in Chicago.
  • The strength local community-based housing organizations was a significant factor in promoting resilient local responses to foreclosures.
  • To respond effectively to foreclosures, local actors must collaborate across policy areas, such as housing, jobs, and transportation.