Results to support housing stability and increase equitable access
NORWALK, CT -- Fairfield County’s Community Foundation (FCCF) announces its partnership in the establishment of Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity (FCCHO), funded through the generous spirit and commitment of JPMorgan Chase & Co. to cultivate thriving neighborhoods, with an investment of $450,000. Their commitment will catalyze action with results to create housing stability for all Fairfield County residents.
According to the Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2019, seven percent of adults did not have enough money for housing or shelter at some point in the preceding year. Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunity is a collective response and strategic partnership between Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Partnership for Strong Communities, Regional Plan Association, and Supportive Housing Works. The goals of FCCHO include enabling and promoting the production and preservation of affordable housing in Fairfield County; creating opportunities for thriving, equitable communities; and positioning housing opportunity as foundational for a healthy, regional economy. FCCHO’s first initiative, the Fairfield County Housing Alliance, is comprised of 65 partner organizations representing diverse geographies, technical expertise, and sectors. The Alliance will be a vital resource and partner in the FCCHO’s endeavors.
“Thriving neighborhoods are critical for any region’s long-term success. Yet many neighborhoods are struggling from disinvestment, high poverty and unemployment, lack of affordable housing, persistent crime, and other challenges. As a result, many of the most vulnerable residents are shut out of the rewards of a growing economy,” states Matt McSpedon, co-head of JPMorgan Chase Connecticut Market Leadership Team. “We know that the future of our business depends on the well-being of our communities. Our investment in Fairfield County is critical to the region and we are proud to partner with the organizations that are undertaking this work.”
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s philanthropic mission is to drive inclusive growth and create an economy that works for all. There is a pressing need to enable more people to share in the rewards of a growing economy, this is not simply about being a good corporate citizen, it is a business imperative.
In Fairfield County this will happen in three stages:
- Phase One of the Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunities included identifying opportunities; gather data; convening partners across sectors; surveying funders and practitioners, as well as, developing a municipla planning and zoning tool kit.
- Phase Two includes defining a strategy by creating a workplan, including benchmarks that can be measured and evaluated, and creating a unifying framework and outcome model.
- Phase Three is driving change for opportunity, equity, and economic vitality.
The three-year strategic plan for Fairfield County’s Community Foundation includes:
- Moving people from homelessness to housing stability, and providing needed supportive services
- Preserving and increasing access to affordable housing for low-income households
- Creating sustainable communities of opportunity by increasing equitable access to vital resources with a focus on community health, civic health, food security, transportation, and workforce development
When the FCCHO was conceived, it was agreed that a data-driven strategic approach would drive this initiative. JPMorgan Chase’s investment is helping to create forward-looking data and planning tools to help community leaders better address the biggest challenges facing their communities and introduce a more diverse stock of housing, equipped to sustain a new Connecticut economy.
“The Fairfield County Center for Housing Opportunity has been an invaluable leader and an absolutely critical gathering point for those of us operating in the affordable housing field during the COVID-19 crisis. FCCHO was there from the onset of the crisis, facilitating resources and the sharing of best practices among our peers, lobbying on our behalf, and establishing dialogue with state and federal agencies, legislators, and funders. They supported the sourcing of resources including PPE, and provided a myriad of other consistent, daily, and vital supports to our and other community development organizations during this time. We are incredibly grateful for the really stellar work that Christie Stewart and the FCCHO do everyday to support BNT, our tenants, clients and community – especially during this period of crisis. We REALLY don’t know what we would do without the support of the FCCHO,” shared Noah E. Gotbaum, Chief Executive Officer of Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust, Inc.
The Fairfield County Community Wellbeing Index 2019, also found that nearly 40 percent of households are either housing cost-burdened – meaning that they spend more than the recommended 30 percent of income on housing or are severely housing cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing. Renters are generally at a higher risk for housing instability with research indicating 28 percent of renter-occupied households are severely housing cost-burdened.
The Community Foundation’s participation in the Housing Center builds upon its history of increasing the supply of affordable housing by building the capacity of nonprofit housing developers. As a regional community funder, FCCF was responsible for the 11-year-long Fairfield County’s Funders’ Collaborative, through which 29 funders helped to build the will of municipal leaders across the county. The collaborative resulted in the production of 1,100 affordable housing units, which represented a 300 percent increase in production over pre-collaborative levels. Collective investments of nearly $5 million were estimated to have impacted 5,000 low and moderate-income Fairfield County residents, created 1,400 jobs, and generated $472 million in economic activity.
“In light of the COVID-19 crisis and heightened need to reduce disparities in our county, JPMorgan Chase’s investment is indeed a major leap for our region. With their support and commitment, we can address emergency needs and advance Fairfield County through impactful solutions to achieve housing equity and improve community vitality for all who call our region home,” states Juanita James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. She continues, “Connecticut’s economy is significantly changing, and our community needs stable, sustainable places for everyone to live. Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity gives us the strength and knowledge to help achieve this. We are grateful to JPMorgan Chase for their commitment and support.”
About Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity
Fairfield County’s Center for Housing Opportunity is a collective response and strategic partnership between Fairfield County’s Community Foundation; Partnership for Strong Communities; Regional Plan Association; and Supportive Housing Works. The goals of FCCHO include enabling and promoting the regional production and preservation of affordable housing; creating opportunities for thriving, equitable communities and positioning housing opportunity as foundation for a healthy, regional economy. Fairfield County Housing Alliance, the first initiative of FCCHO, is comprised of 65 partner organizations, its diverse geographic representation, technical expertise and sector representation, will be a vital resource and partner in this endeavor, as well. https://www.fccho.org/
About JPMorgan Chase & Co’s Neighborhood Revitalization: Cultivating Thriving Neighborhoods
Generating a Return on Community, is one of JPMorgan Chase’s core objectives because the firm understands the future of their business depends on the wellbeing of our communities. By 2023, JPMorgan Chase will invest $1.75 billion to drive inclusive growth around the world. Their mission is to advance solutions in cities around the world, and expand access to opportunity for more people and drive inclusive growth and create an economy that works for more people.
To accomplish this, JPMorgan Chase is investing in people and places to tackle barriers to opportunity and create the conditions for lasting change. Their work focuses on what they have identified as four universal pillars of opportunity: jobs and skills, small business expansion, neighborhood revitalization and financial health. Through their proven model for impact, they are advancing these drivers of inclusive growth in communities around the world. They are undertaking significant, long term global initiatives that directly leverage their firm’s worldwide presence, data, expertise and resources.