Community Wise

Julia Ryan

Why we talk with police about design

By Julia Ryan
Director, Community Safety Initiative

“How about hostile vegetation?” It’s not a question you hear every day. But when asked by a police officer in a crime prevention training in Houston, TX, it launched an intense discussion about whether thorny rose bushes could deter burglars from entering ground floor windows in a new residential property. Not a typical police response to a crime problem, right? Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design... More[+]...


A prescription for healthier neighborhoods

Community development isn't just about where low-income people live; it's about how well they live. Zip code and health are intrinsically linked. In the first of a series of articles on this from the Institute for Comprehensive Community Development, LISC's Amy Gillman looks at how and why community development has become so critical to the question of better health in distressed areas, with everything from good housing and strong schools to local health centers, fresh food markets and athletic programs helping sever the long-standing link between poor places and poor health. More[+]...

Pioneering philanthropy

Elise Balboni

As LISC’s senior vice president of lending, Elise Balboni touches virtually every loan LISC makes to revitalize communities across the country. She brings that wide range of expertise to a new book called “New Frontiers of Philanthropy: A Guide to the New Tools and New Actors that Are Reshaping Global Philanthropy and Social Investing.” The book examines the revolution taking place in philanthropy and social investing, focusing on new financing models and tools that are helping foundations expand their impact. Balboni co-authored a chapter focused on fixed-income opportunities and features an innovative bond offering from a top charter school operator as an example. Balboni is among the country’s foremost experts on charter school finance and has led groundbreaking research that evaluates the credit quality of the sector. More[+]...

Gut check on federal housing programs

Joshua Court

In the midst of a nationwide affordable housing crisis, why would we hack away at the very federal programs that attract private capital to build homes families can afford? That's the question LISC's Denise Scott asks in a New York Times blog, rejecting the idea that we have to choose between rental housing and homeownership opportunities to help families. She argues for expanding successful programs like the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit and fully funding others like the Capital Magnet Fund. "Too many Americans are struggling to find decent, affordable housing of any kind," Scott stressed. "What we need are federal housing policies that provide choices for low- and moderate-income Americans to rent or own." More[+]...