Partners for Rural Transformation, a national coalition to advance economic mobility in persistent poverty areas, led by OFN members Communities Unlimited, Fahe, HOPE, First Nations Oweesta Corporation, and Rural Communities Assistance Corporation, along with Community Development Corporation of Brownsville, recently came together to author a paper entitled “Transforming Persistent Poverty in America: How Community Development Financial Institutions Drive Economic Opportunity.”
Finding that eight out of ten of the 395 persistent poverty counties in the U.S. are nonmetro, and that the majority (60 percent) of people living in persistent poverty counties are people of color, the paper points to persistent poverty as an issue that is “steadfastly rural and marred by racial inequity.”
The six authoring CDFIs, located in and serving regions with a high prevalence of persistent poverty around the United States, first identify the challenges faced by their respective communities, including high unemployment, lack of access to banking services, and paucity of quality affordable housing and safe drinking water, all of which contribute to higher rates of premature death and lower health outcomes. Following an analysis of the challenges, the paper proposes solutions, with an emphasis on greater philanthropic, bank, and federal investment in community and economic development in the nation’s most distressed communities.
Read the paper in full.