Saturday, June 22, 2013

Investing in Ourselves: Community Finance

Detroiters must invest in Detroit. Banks and large businesses have done us in. I don't see any federal intervention anywhere yet. Its time to stop waiting to be saved and save ourselves. It is freeing to re-imagine the economy. Here are some ideas to free future generations from what we are going through. I am sure there are many more ways that other Detroiters will come up with or maybe already do! For some more ideas, visit the Community Wealth website.

1. Community Land Trust.(permanently affordable housing) An awesome Detroiter-friendly low income home ownership model. Low income homeowners own the actual house, but the land trust owns the land. The house can be sold to other low income folks or passed onto children. They even do green buildings. Here is one in Durham, NC. How about a community mostly unaffected by the housing crisis because they had a land trust? Here is one in Albuquerque, NM.

2. Using the Water Department to create energy. The Water Department costs a lot of money in energy bills. Why not look at ways to use the Water Department in every way possible to create its own energy and lower the water rates for citizens? This would be a wonderful competition for some engineering students to think up.

3. Credit Unions in all neighborhoods. We need to keep our own money and make financial products that are just and suit Detroiters. Credit Unions could also invest in Detroit's bonds, if we are able and want to continue financing the city through this debt structure. Here is New York's Municipal Credit Union.

4.Cooperatives - what is a cooperative?  "owned and democratically controlled by their members-the people who use the co-op’s services or buy its goods-not by outside investors"
  • Food co-ops. Here is a grant opportunity to start one.
  • Child care co-ops. Here is an example of a parent-owned NAEYC accredited child care center and preschool.
  • Housing/Apartment co-ops
  • Senior Homecare co-op. Here is an example of independent providers coming together for mutual benefit. 
  • Insurance co-ops. Here is an example.
5. Backyard and community gardens, fruit and nut trees for public places. Here is an agriculture program, Keep Growing Detroit, that encourages people to grow their own food.

6. Resident financed housing rehab. Here is one in Detroit!

7. Bonds (loans to the city where you get the interest for loaning the money) that are affordable for low to middle income people. Here is an example in California.

8. Alternative Energy Streetlights - Could they even produce more energy than they use? Could we be producing extra energy on every street in Detroit?

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