The Boston Fed tracks emerging issues in New England’s community development landscape and elevates ideas and promising practices that can help advance the economic strength and stability of lower-income families and individuals. We do this through regional stakeholder engagement, applied research, analysis of local data, gathering of diverse viewpoints from subject-matter experts and issue-affected constituents, and exploration of relevant low- and moderate-income (LMI) topics in our magazine.
In addition to broader emerging issues, Community Development staff monitors and collects qualitative data on community credit needs and conditions in the First District. This data is collected through a series of interactions with banks, credit unions, community development financial institutions, community-based organizations, policymakers, and others who can provide insight on the state of small business credit, commercial real estate, and the home-mortgage and consumer-credit sectors in New England. We also continue to promote understanding of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), as well as how to modernize and improve CRA regulations and their impact on LMI communities through a number of interagency activities.
Other channels that contribute to our strategies for investigating and spotlighting emerging community development issues include:
- Supporting Visiting Fellows in yearlong paid positions to study relevant community development topics as part of a cohort of external scholars of all levels—from PhD candidates to senior scholars—working in a similar topical area. Fellows engage with each other and our research and outreach staff on the year’s selected theme and contribute to Boston Fed Community Development publications.
- Forming and convening several Boston Fed advisory councils to inform our community development work, including the New England Community Development Advisory Council (CDAC), the Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council (CDIAC), and the Community Development Research Advisory Council (CDRAC).
Past efforts that have contributed to our understanding of issues affecting low- and moderate-income communities:
- The Community Outlook Survey engaged community leaders and local stakeholder organizations in helping us identify emerging challenges to the economic strength and mobility of lower-income people across New England.