Chief strategy and impact officer, Seeding Success
Learn more about Jamilica >>
Director, Enterprise Community Partners
Learn more about Anne >>
Managing director, Higher Expectations for Racine County
Learn more about Chelsea >>
Executive vice president of strategy and development, StriveTogether
Learn more about Colin >>
Colin Groth, executive vice president of strategy and development, StriveTogether
[00:20] Hello, I’m Colin Groth, the executive vice president of strategy and development at StriveTogether. Pinch-hitting today for host extraordinaire Christian Motley, who’s out, but happy to be taking the reins here at Together for Change. As you all know, this podcast is about exploring what’s possible when people work together for an equitable recovery.
Joining me today are Anne Griffith, the director of Enterprise Community Partners, Jamilica Burke, the chief strategy and impact officer at Seeding Success, and Chelsea Powell, the managing director at Higher Expectations for Racine County.
[00:52] StriveTogether is a national network of nearly 70 communities across 30 states committed to ensuring the success of every child, cradle to career. Seeding Success in Memphis, Tennessee, and Higher Expectations in Racine County, Wisconsin, are part of the StriveTogether Cradle to Career Network.
Welcome to Together for Change, Jamilica.
Jamilica Burke, chief strategy and impact officer, Seeding Success
[01:10] Good afternoon. Thank you for having me.
[01:12] And glad you could join us, Chelsea.
Chelsea Powell, managing director, Higher Expectations for Racine County
[01:14] It’s so great to be here with you, Colin.
[01:17] Excited you’re both joining us. Enterprise Community Partners, the national expert on affordable housing, strives to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging. Welcome, Anne.
Anne Griffith, director, Enterprise Community Partners
[01:28] So good to be here. Thanks.
[01:30] Excited to have everyone on today’s show. And today, we’re actually going to talk about how Enterprise and StriveTogether have been partnering in communities like Memphis and Racine to work collaboratively to advance cradle-to-career outcomes and economic mobility. So, let’s start with the “why.”
Anne, I’m particularly interested in your perspective here. We know that children and families across our country experience racial and economic disparities rooted in biased policies, systems and historical injustices. Why is it important to work across education and housing sectors to actually achieve better outcomes for youth and families?
[02:07] Thanks, Colin. I think that there are probably many reasons. But for me, it boils down to the understanding that the housing and education systems are mutually reinforcing. There’s some obvious ways that the two systems are clearly connected, and one that may come to mind for many of us is that where children live determines the set of public schools that they can attend. And the funding for public school programs is tied to the affluence of the residential area in ways that directly affect school quality.
So, the more exclusive the housing, the more exclusive and the higher quality the schooling. And while it goes without saying, even today, the stigma of race continues to impact the desirability of both residential and educational outcomes.
[3:00] But in addition to this more obvious example, research has shown that other housing factors contribute significantly to educational attainment and economic well-being. And the headline contributing factors for us are housing stability, housing affordability, housing quality, housing and neighborhood as a platform. And since we focus on economic mobility, we add housing that builds wealth and assets to that list.
And these five housing factors are interdependent, meaning that all five must be present in a neighborhood to ensure not only positive educational and economic mobility outcomes, but also to prevent the perpetuation of racial disparities. So unfortunately, you can’t really pick and choose which of those factors you want to focus on.
[03:59] By way of example, I just want to talk a little bit about how some of those factors play out. Starting with housing stability — that’s really what’s necessary for children to learn and grow. It reduces the likelihood of chronic absenteeism and toxic stress. An extreme example is homelessness, which is associated with mental and physical health problems, lower performance in core academic subjects. And then children who are not homeless but experience a high number of residential moves, especially related to eviction, also tend to have worse outcomes. And that’s because residential mobility is often tied to school mobility, and as we know, students who change schools frequently have been found to be more than a year behind in reading and math.
And then we think about affordability. And first of all, housing is considered affordable if the household pays no more than 30% of their income towards their housing needs. And so presumably in that case, they’re in a better position to meet their basic needs, which means they’re not forced to make those really difficult choices about whether or not they’ll spend their resources on food or clothing, medical care or other necessities. And hopefully, then there’s also some resources that are leftover that would be able to provide for enrichment activities for children.
[05:28] When we think about housing quality, we’re really concerned with things like lead paint, broken windows or facilities, mold, mildew, pests — and all of those things can contribute to a whole host of physical and mental health outcomes, negative outcomes. And as we know, when children are healthy, they’re much more likely to attend school consistently.
The fourth area, the fourth factor — although we know that low-income neighborhoods are have actually been found to have stronger levels of social integration than those that are more affluent, living in a safe and well-resourced neighborhood is actually a strong indicator of long-term success.
[06:11] Neighborhood exposure to violence, in particular, is a key disrupter of academic progress and has been tied to lower test scores. And in recent years, there have been studies that found a close association between neighborhoods in which a child grows up and his or her long-term outcomes, both in economic mobility and other access to opportunity.
That last category is housing that builds wealth and assets. And we actually use that term very intentionally instead of saying homeownership, because the homeownership actually has a very complicated relationship to wealth building in this country. It’s true that homeownership has proved to be the greatest asset for generating intergenerational wealth for many people, namely white people. But given the disproportionate use of predatory loans and other historic challenges around homeownership, it’s actually been a pretty painful red herring for a number of other people.
[07:15] But clearly, having housing that allows for a household to invest in any financial vehicle can create both stability to weather financial storms as well as an opportunity for future mobility.
The way that all these variables line up in any community looks different, though. So, the way that a community approaches wrapping its arms around these factors will be unique to that community. But again, the risk of not embracing all of those factors all at once means that a community is at risk of perpetuating those disparate outcomes.
[07:57] So, I just want to get back to your question, Colin, just kind of the full circle. Over time, there have been a lot of efforts to reverse the very explicit race-based housing and education laws. As far back as the 60s, the school desegregation, the Fair Housing Act, all the way through to present time with programs that are often well funded, well intentioned. But by and large, these efforts have two things in common.
First, they tend to be single issue focused, so focused not only on either just housing, or on just education, but within the housing sector, they’re often just focused on say, affordability. And the second is that taken either individually or cumulatively, they really have not had much impact on affecting that large-scale outcome to reduce racial disparities.
[09:06] But that actually makes sense to me. Because if where children live directly impacts their educational opportunities, and if where they live turns on five factors, not just one, then if we solve for only one housing factor, or if only housing or only education, then it’s really unlikely that we’re ever going to realize meaningful change in order to address disparities in any given community.
[09:40] Thanks, Anne. That’s an incredibly helpful background and context. And I know one of the lines I’ve often heard that really resonated in what you were saying is that people often think you build wealth through income, but it’s actually often through ownership. And so I appreciate the framing around the opportunity for housing to actually, you know, be a vehicle for building wealth.
And I know from a StriveTogether perspective, when we talk to some of the leading-edge communities across the Network, and thought about what’s the work that we need to do as a national movement to actually advance racial equity, to move from talk to action when it comes to seeing systemic change that leads to more equitable outcomes, and eight of the nine communities that we talked with identified housing as a key sector that we needed to bring together with education, to get to that vision for equitable systems.
[10:31] And so I want to turn to you, Jamilica, because you’re actually bringing this work to life in Memphis. Can you tell us a bit about how Seeding Success is working across housing and education to address disparities and improve outcomes?
[10:44] Absolutely. Thanks for asking that question, Colin. Well, in our community, we have been in existence since 2013. And what we’ve really worked to do is really to play the role of developer, convener and advocate.
One, really working to build the capacity capability, the partners, to really do their work well. Two, really bringing together our partners to strategically learn from each other and share ideas and resources and strategies of how we can address the efforts taking place in our community, and really, also to advocate for policy that can lead to sustainable change and solutions.
[11:19] The way that we’ve seen this work come alive in our housing and education collaborative — in late 2018, we started convening a group of partners from the education and housing sector. And at that time, that was one of the few times that those two sectors have been brought together. And like many of you have mentioned on this call is, we saw that that was a critical need, as organizationally, we have really been invested in really changing and improving outcomes for our students and families within our community, cradle to career. But one of the mitigating factors that continuously came up was the impact on housing.
In our community, currently, almost half of our community are renting. There’s very low ownership when it comes to local ownership. And we also have seen within our school system, a high percentage of our students have a high mobility rate.
[12:13] Within this collaboration, we brought them together, we want to have a discussion about, “What do we need to do? And how do we need to look at the data and information of our community to really develop strategies to support our kids and families through these trying times?”
And what we found, we were able to do a small test of change, really focusing on a small number of schools, about 15 schools within our school system, and to do a deep dive to determine and see that you know what, there was some correlation, not causation, between student mobility and their student achievement.
[12:46] And what this highlighted for the group was the need to really work more aligned and closer together on systemic solutions. Because even though we want to improve the academic outcomes of our students, we know that 60 to 69% of the factors affecting them are happening outside of the classroom. And what has come up repeatedly has been housing.
And this has also been exacerbated lately, with the challenge of COVID, to where now it’s given us an opportunity to really look at how can we better lock arms to have a more holistic approach of how we address many of these challenges.
[13:22] And what this is really starting to look like in our community with this collaborative is now through data and evidence and research and the long history of the work our partners have been doing in these areas, we’re now able to look more strategically and targeted at neighborhoods, communities, schools to develop, well, what are the specific needs of the students and families in these communities? How can we now start layering on solutions and resources to support them, to where we can now start to improve the academic outcomes of our students and families.
And where this partnership has really been great for us, it has now been an opportunity to really look at how we can sustain these efforts. Now that work has really been broadened to look at, now we have opportunities to work with our local government, and work with our housing authority to think through. As we’re now thinking about how we develop these communities, especially when we’re looking at where schools are being, quote-unquote, a hub.
[14:21] How can we now make sure that the schools are in revitalized areas, we have more quality, affordable housing, we’re able to support our families to be connected to the resources that they needed? How can we identify the homes that are having a high cost burden of electricity? Who are the families that are at risk of evictions? Now that we’re starting to bring those pieces and data together, we’re getting a more holistic picture and look of what are the challenges in our communities, and now how we can have a more targeted approach to address them.
And through this work, even in the short time that we’ve been doing it in this sector, we’ve been able to really layer on different resources, bring together multiple initiatives to now look at issues from a singular view in the standpoint of, how can we now collectively pool our resources together to affect change long term?
[15:13] I love that. And I appreciate — I mean, having spent a lot of time in Memphis and Shelby County, I know it’s been a unique housing market. And one that I think — Anne, we might come back to, but I would be curious for some of the Enterprise insights about the work down there.
Chelsea, all eyes in the nation have been on Wisconsin over the past weeks and months, but not for the reason necessarily we’re here to talk about today, which is actually the incredible work you all have been doing in thinking about this kind of continued theme of collaboration between housing and education. What does that work look like for Higher Expectations in Racine County? And what are you learning about the impacts of that?
[15:57] Yeah, absolutely. And I, I agree, it has been quite a time to be a resident in Wisconsin, with everything that’s going on. And, you know, I think I would start by just going back to something that Anne said, and the importance of understanding that you really can’t disentangle housing and education outcomes.
We have a mayor here in the city of Racine that likes to point out that without the success of a healthy school district, a city is not going to be successful. And that’s really at the level of thinking about the impact of education choices on why families choose to move to areas or purchase homes or rent homes in different neighborhoods.
[16:42] And I think there’s a lens there around wanting to improve schools in order to attract more families. But even more critically, for our mayor and for us at Higher Expectations is thinking about improving the environment so that the students and families that are currently here can really thrive in our schools. And so that we can work together to ensure that they’re being set up for success in the best way possible.
You know, Higher Expectations came into this work, thinking about housing through the lens of trying to understand the impact of attendance on student outcomes. And in both kindergarten readiness, and in our sort of third-grade elementary reading outcomes, what we find is a really strong correlation between the number of days that a student misses school and their ability to be successful on our standardized testing here in our community.
[17:40] And when you start to ask why and dig into what leads to lower attendance, you often end up having conversations about housing and needs outside of school. And you also end up having a lot of conversations about student mobility, about the rental market and about how disruptive it can be for an individual and a family to have to move, both from the perspective of their home and having to pick up and shift, and also outside of their school’s boundaries and into another one and potentially having to switch midyear or over the summer.
And so we had long had conversations about that, sort of with our education and employment partners here in Racine, without really having a grasp of how do we really move into the policy conversation around how to start shifting this dynamic and increasing stability for families and students.
[18:38] And then a few years ago, our community decided to invest in the community school model at a few of our elementary schools in Racine Unified School District, and that sort of started down a path of us really thinking about, specifically in a neighborhood that maybe had been struggling, how does a stronger school, a stronger school community, create stability for the market — the housing market — and the families around that school and vice versa, how does the housing market impact those students and really being able to look a little bit more specifically at the schools that we had selected as community schools as a community.
And that really helped us sort of lead into a conversation about the rental market and understanding that, I think much like Memphis, we have a really high proportion of renters. Home ownership is not super high in Racine. And rather than thinking through the lens of a desire to just increase homeownership, which again to something Anne said earlier, has a lot of both positive impacts particularly for white families but also is not accessible to a lot of families of color in our community. How do we stabilize the renting market instead? And how do we create, you know, renter units that are healthy and safe and start to meet the needs of students.
[20:19] And through our partnership with Enterprise, and having them come in and support our community, we’re able to forge a relationship with our city and our mayor’s office to help them start thinking about sort of what change could be made where education outcomes and housing outcomes are intertwined and entangled and could be moved together in a positive direction.
And so our mayor’s office did some incredible work to actually roll out the most comprehensive rental reform package that our city has ever seen, after hearing from community and renters about the negative impacts that, you know, unchecked landlords and other issues have had on them.
[21:09] And Higher Expectations has been really proud to be a part of that in, you know, the ability to bring education data to the table to show sort of the correlation between attendance and test scores, potentially, or other student outcomes and to broaden out the coalition of partners that is available to support these changes in our community and to identify and speak to the importance of thinking a little bit more holistically.
And we’re really excited about where that’s going. I think, particularly with the impact of COVID, you know, our school district is actually fully virtual. So, all students are learning from their homes. And that has only shed an even brighter light on what is maybe not accessible for all families, whether it’s around internet and technology access, or even strength of internet. Because, as we know, like where those lines are made, and where the access to good broadband is stronger is the neighborhoods that have traditionally had more wealth. Or whether it’s just about how we ensure that they’re in a safe learning environment when they’re not at school in a building, those issues have really come up even more so.
[22:26] So I think, you know, we were very excited to partner and to be able to create a direction for ourselves in this work around housing and are seeing now the important policy changes that needed to go into place at a local level to start to hopefully impact the outcomes that we want to see for our students and their families.
[22:50] Sure. Thanks for sharing that, Chelsea. And just kudos to you and Jamilica both for really being leaders in the country when it comes to thinking about housing and education collaboratives in advancing place-based partnerships.
I want to come back to Anne for a minute, though, because you said something that really perked my ears up. And I think in both partnership examples, we’ve highlighted the importance of homeownership. But I think you also raised an important red flag, which is this idea of housing as a red herring when it comes to predatory lending. Could you share a little bit more about that and the impact it has on children and families in this country?
[23:29] I think that it probably shows itself in ways that relate back to those questions of housing stability,y primarily. So when we have housing opportunities for folks that are based on predatory products and lead to eventual foreclosure, that can contribute significantly to significant disruption in households, in the same way that evictions will contribute to the same kinds of instabilities.
Ultimately, also, when there is a significant amount of household resources that have been invested in a vehicle such as purchasing a home and the products that were offered are ones that then tear that home from that family, those households end up in a worse off position than they were before they started investing as a homeowner.
[24:44] So in those situations, where we have held up homeownership as being the pinnacle of investment possibilities, what ends up happening is instead that the household ends up being in a much worse position, and having to rebuild both their financial security as well as sometimes their educational stability over a period of time.
[25:17] Thanks, Anne. It’s really, it’s unfortunate and shocking in many ways to see. But not surprising, unfortunately. And I’m wondering, as we think about this, you know, the huge factor that is impacting us in really unfortunate and unique ways this year is the COVID pandemic. And Jamilica, you brought this up in your opening comments. I’m wondering, both kind of broadly, what are you learning about the work in Memphis as you think about housing and education, but also in this unique moment in the country, how is COVID-19 actually impacting your work?
I’ve read and heard a lot about the challenges of Safe at Home learning environments. We see so many schools and districts going to remote learning. How is COVID-19 impacting your work? And what are you learning about that in Memphis?
[26:15] Yeah, thanks for that question, Colin. I mean, we’re learning a lot here in Memphis. One thing is, we are, we’re really learning that the situation is even more precarious than we thought before. Even before the pandemic, over half of families in our community were having challenges with their housing stability, and that is only been exacerbated through this process.
And now, like many other communities, we are in a virtual setting as well. And currently, there are about 23% of our communities that did not even have access to high-quality broadband. Our community has done a great job in locking arms to ensure that they have the technology that they need in order to be successful. But there’s still a high number of students that have not been able to tap into those resources.
[27:02] Also, with the challenges that we’re seeing within our community is, with the moratorium we do have families that are able to stay in their homes right now. But we do expect once the moratoriums are lifted at the end of the year that we will have a significant number of evictions that will happen at that time. So our community is diligently working hard to really develop funds to come up and work with, to work with lenders and to work with landlords to see is there a way that we can strike some deals or some compromises to ensure that our families are able to stay in their homes.
Another piece that we’ve really seen that’s really affecting our community at this time is the stability just from having COVID, is there’s food disparities, there are issues around transportation, child care. Because we have a mix of families that have to go to work, but their students are home in a virtual environment.
[27:59] Now, one thing that I’m proud to say about our community, our community, again, has locked arms to really rise to the challenge. And this pandemic has really given us an opportunity to really think more strategically and align our efforts and how we work together. There has definitely been more collaboration now in Memphis and data sharing and resource sharing and information gathering at a scale that I have not seen at this level previously.
And so building on those successes and really keeping that momentum going. We’re really looking at ways of how do we continue to bring together public-private partnership, to really look at these issues in a multifaceted way. Because it’s going to take a critical lens from multiple phases to really see what do we need to have in place to affect change and keep this momentum going.
[28:49] Right now, we’ve been able to work with our community to really build systemic systems, strategies and supports within our community. I think a great example of that has been some of the emerging work that has been building from the housing and education collaborative. In that work, we were able to start looking collectively at student-level data, the schools in which they lived, and what were the challenges they were having with housing around evictions, housing, stability, quality of housing, etc.
Now we’re taking another lens to really add another layer to that work in terms of with our utilities company. Can we now identify to a student level, or to a household level, where are the homes that are having the highest cost burden? Where are the homes that are at risk of evictions? Where are the homes that do not have access to broadband?
[29:42] Because now with that more targeted look, from a data perspective, we’re now able to better support our partners and our communities to really direct their resources in a more strategic way so that we’re making sure the resources are being connected to the families that are most impacted by the pandemic.
And that has been one of the great successes that have been coming out of this work. Like so many other communities, we are working, all of us are working in a virtual space. So it definitely makes, adds a different challenge to the work and how we work together, because our work has been so face to face and collaborative.
[30:18] But I think this has brought out a uniqueness I would say about our communities and just kind of to think about, we have this opportunity, how can we build upon it? And how can we ensure that we build the biggest umbrella, the biggest tent possible to bring as many partners to the table so that we can now really drill down from a data level, an evidence level, research, to really think about, okay, these are solutions that can help us in the short term, but there’s also some due diligence and planning we need to do to build on these for the long term.
Because ultimately, there are some strategies that are coming out of this pandemic that we want to work towards sustainability. And so also thinking from a critical lens focusing on the short term to ensure we’re addressing immediate needs, but how can we now build on success for long term planning and long term sustainability? Because ultimately, we are working towards improving social economic mobility in our community. And I think that there’s definitely, a foundation is being laid for us to do that very well.
[31:21] Yeah, I just want to echo that. In Racine, I think this pandemic, while it has been so hard to sort of get through, and there have been so many basic needs that we’ve needed to meet, I have noticed how many of our institutions and partners have really risen to the challenge.
I think one of the things that we noticed right away this past spring was the community recognizing that our schools are not just a place of learning. They’re a place of food for our students, and the amount of resources that our school district had to put into ensuring that families in the community were continuing to be fed became a really significant priority.
[32:08] And just being able to acknowledge that and consider that as we think about other policy decisions and what the other side of this pandemic could look like, I think really gives us a different foundation for that conversation.
We’ve seen, for example, our city of Racine actually was able to leverage some of the federal dollars to provide rent relief payments, to prevent eviction to about 300 families in the community, and worked with a local nonprofit to distribute those so that there was a commitment from landlords that they wouldn’t evict and a plan in place for those families to continue to stay in their homes. Because we had a similar moment of our, what we’ve already had that, of our evictions moratoriums disappearing.
[33:04] And I do also — just to draw back to something that Anne and Colin were talking about earlier, I think one of the really important learnings of aligning your housing and education work is understanding the policy decisions that have sort of put families in the position that they’re in, whether it’s as renters or as homeowners.
A lot of the work that we did in trying to launch this partnership in Racine was to look at our state-level policies. And to really understand that there is some significant limitations that our state legislature had put on the ability of a local government to do things like create a rental inspection district, or to do things like, you know, align resources based on where schools are or how hard it becomes for municipal governments to work together, depending on what the policies are.
[34:05] And I think as communities think about engaging in this cross-sector work, knowing where partners have those limitations, but where they also have some power to implement change is a critical component of partnership and of trying to do this work in an aligned way to improve outcomes for students.
[34:28] It’s incredibly powerful to hear and I appreciate lifting up sort of, you know — I heard examples of kind of practice effort. So it’s, you know, at StriveTogether, we talk a lot about systems transformation and this idea of shifting practices, policies, resources and power. And what I so appreciate in both of the examples from Racine and Shelby County, Memphis, is, you know, needs and bright spots across all four of those domains, in particular thinking about what’s needed to actually advance racial equity on the ground.
So, Anne, you had the chance to work with three StriveTogether network members in Memphis, Racine and Dayton, Ohio. What, if anything, was different about what you noticed in the way that those network members work with community members and partners, maybe from other clients or partnerships you’ve worked with in the field?
[35:18] And I’m also curious, if you were to highlight a few takeaways from the recently released “Advancing Mobility from Poverty” toolkit that we just produced on how partnerships can better collaborate between housing and education?
[35:31] There are some takeaways about variability. And then some things about consistency. I’d say that our interaction with the three separate different communities helped us to appreciate how important conversations about or centering structural racism, around — how central those are for the partnerships, whether or not the communities themselves are leading with conversations about structural racism, and saw that there was, there’s difference between whether or not the point of reference for the network member is at an institutional level or whether it’s with the lived experience, kind of based on whether or not there is that emphasis of structural racism kind of in the milieu around them.
I think we can observe that that can lead to some complicated dynamics, if those, if representation is not at the institutional level, as well as at the, within the community structure itself. So just really highlighted the importance of seeing those conversations about structural racism being front and center in the network member focus.
[37:08] And then I’d say really consistently, is that the network members are super organized, have extremely well-orchestrated infrastructure that allows them to network around their education, just the whole education dynamic, but also observed that in each of those communities, there just was not the same parallel relationship within the housing sector. And that was a little bit surprising. In part, because there’s variability in terms of whether or not each of those communities had a robust housing sector or a not-so-well-developed housing sector and yet, consistently, without that infrastructure in place the network partners are then really left to figure out all of those relationships on their own.
And that that is really kind of beyond what I think we can expect for easy partnerships. And so that really takes us to why we created the “Advancing Mobility from Poverty” toolkit in the first place, and I’m hoping that communities can get a lot out of this particular tool.
[38:38] This toolkit was created between Enterprise and StriveTogether, and it’s really designed to introduce the why, the how and the what you need to know about housing and education partnerships for anyone who works either on the housing side or on the education side of the partnership possibility. And it’s organized to summarize the five common stages of cross-sector partnership. And for each stage of partnership, the toolkit provides resources and guides and tools, as well as case studies. You’ll see these case studies from these examples showing up in that toolkit.
And there’s also appendices for each of those that connects with those different stages. And because we’ve conducted this and designed it with StriveTogether, there is a corresponding theory of action gateway associated with it.
[39:42] There’s also a readiness tool that’s part of that toolkit that allows for a reader to assess where they are within those stages of partnership. And that’s to really help the reader be able to engage with that toolkit most effectively. There’s also a component that I’ve heard has been pretty popular, which is the Housing 101 and the Education 101 tools. And, you know, despite the fact that housing and education systems are mutually reinforcing, the systems themselves are fundamentally different.
And I think this is part of what Chelsea was lifting up a little bit in what she was talking about. But I don’t think that partners on the education side necessarily know what the laws are or what the levers might be. And likewise, for housing partners to understand who the key stakeholders are, what the funding sources are, what the regulations might be, to be able to effectively partner with the other sector. So we’ve included these different tools just to provide the same foundational understanding for all housing and education practitioners.
[41:05] And then the last part of it is a framework for those shared housing and education outcomes. Again, stuff that Chelsea was talking about. How it is that we can help the housing sector and the education sector see themselves in each other’s goals and outcomes. And really, what we’re looking for is for communities to feel empowered to reach out to their counterparts and to begin exploring the right partnerships for their community. So hopefully, there’s a lot that other communities will be able to get out of this tool.
[41:44] Channeling my inner Christian Motley, who I know loves to end the pod always with a call to action, I’d love to hear from each of you, if there was one piece of advice or a call to action from your work that you’d want to share with community leaders, what would that be?
[41:59] I would say, just do it. I know that there is a learning curve in getting started with these partnerships, these education and housing partnerships, that it’s a very different world. But we’re here to tell you that it is possible, and that we have tools to help you, and it will make a really profound difference in your ability to reach the goals that you’ve set for yourselves.
[42:25] One of the pieces of advice that I would really talk about is, when you’re thinking about building a public-private partnership that’s really built on multiple sectors, it is messy and it takes time. But the end product that you have, you really have a really comprehensive and holistic group that can look at how we can really look at systemic change in and a really different way.
Because now you have at the table many people with the different ideas and different areas of focus that can highlight how can we now all look to align our efforts and resources and practice to really be a light to our community and guide a lot of the planning that needs to be done, and policy work that needs to be done for that matter, to really sustain the work that we want to see and improve at the end of the day — the social and economic mobility for our families, but really just at the end of the day, giving them more choice and opportunity in the lives that they want live and the things that they want to do.
[43:24] I think the thing that I would share with community leaders is that we don’t really know what families and students are facing, truly, whether it’s in their educational life or in their home. And the most critical piece of this work that we can do as we’re trying to align sectors or make a difference around housing and education outcomes is to ask, is to ask them what matters most to them, what is truly impacting them and what do they want to see from our institutions to help improve their access and their lives and their learning environment or home environment?
And we, you know, in Racine, we really found that when our city went to renters to ask what they needed is when this work truly took off and became something that moved policy and changed practice in the community.
[44:20] Thanks for listening in today and sticking with us all season long. If you learned something new today, please pass it on to your family and friends. While this is our final episode of our first season, we’re coming back in 2021 and we certainly hope that in the meantime you’ll stay connected by subscribing to the Together for Change podcast and visiting us at StriveTogether.org. Thanks, everyone.