Magazine article Partners in Community and Economic Development

Keeping Pace in a Changing Environment

Magazine article Partners in Community and Economic Development

Keeping Pace in a Changing Environment

Article excerpt

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System's Community Affairs function. Established in 1981 by the Board of Governors to support the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), this office also reflects the Board's recognition that markets don't always work well in low- and moderate-income communities without assistance.

Initially each Reserve Bank designated an individual to help develop safe, sound, profitable programs for low-and moderate-income communities. The Community Affairs Office provided technical training, developed community contacts, and channeled information for and about financial institutions. While we all shared the same mission and objectives as defined by the Board, each of our 12 Reserve Banks had wide latitude in structuring this function to address issues unique to its District. Now the Atlanta Fed maintains a community development professional in each of its six locations to provide fuller insight into local concerns and more direct involvement with communities.

While the overall mission of the Community Affairs Office has remained the same, our work has inevitably evolved to stay relevant in an ever-changing marketplace. During the 1980s, affordable housing programs began providing significant subsidies for both rental and owner-occupied units. The Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the HOME program, specific state programs and many other initiatives promoted the construction of decent housing for lower-income families.

Initially demand was low. The absence of historical data made these endeavors seem uncertain and risky. …

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