Developing Vibrant Communities (DVC), CDAD & CEDAM’s annual conference, provides our members and other attendees with the tools and skills needed to transform Michigan’s communities. Through the lens of inclusion, workshops address all things related to financial empowerment and community economic development work, including community engagement, children’s savings accounts, real estate development, fundraising and more. Our speakers are from the field in which we work, providing methods, lessons and information that participants can take back to their own organization.
Each of our keynote speakers will bring critical research, practical takeaways and inspiring solutions for the challenges our industry faces. Here’s a preview:
Dr. William Elliott | Tuesday, August 21| Opening Address 9-10am
Professor William Elliott is a leading researcher in the fields of college savings accounts, college debt and wealth inequality. Shaped by his personal roots in poverty in a small steel mill city in Pennsylvania, he challenges individual beliefs and cultural values that surround funding for college, student debt, inequality, systemic patterns of poverty and educational justice.
Some of the college savings account programs he is currently conducting research on are the Oakland Promise in California, Prosperity Kids in New Mexico, K2C in San Francisco, Promise Indiana, and the Harold Alfond College challenge in Maine. He’s published in journals such as Economics and Education Review, Journal of Poverty, Race and Social Problems, Educational Policy, and his most recent book is, Making Education Work for the Poor: The Potential of Children’s Savings Accounts. His research adds fuel to debates about how to imagine ways of financing college other than by student debt. He believes that there are real possibilities and his research bears this out. He asks if college education can truly be the great equalizer it is meant to be when wealth inequality remains the defining feature of America. He calls for the next great wealth transfer in America. The seemingly naive premise behind his research is there are better, more effective and more just ways of financing college and delivering on the promise of the American dream. He suggests people must just be shown once again that more is possible.
Joseph Lindstrom, NLIHC | Wednesday, August 22 | Opening Address 9-10am
Joey Lindstrom is the Manager for Field Organizing with the National Low Income Housing Coalition where he works to develop strategic partnerships and build field support for federal policy initiatives. Joey assists advocates throughout the country on issues such as the HUD budget, housing finance reform, the national Housing Trust Fund and affirmatively furthering fair housing. Prior to his work on federal policy, Joey worked extensively as a local advocate on poverty issues. Joey has led policy campaigns in Wisconsin on issues such as the local minimum wage, funding for homeless services and eliminating discrimination against Housing Choice Voucher recipients. In addition to his work on legislative and electoral campaigns, Joey has held various direct service roles including work as a homeless outreach coordinator, a tenants’ rights counselor and a workforce development professional. At Developing Vibrant Communities, he’ll address equity and rental cost burdens, inequity of evictions, current challenges from HUD and Congress as well as solutions moving forward.
Dr. Tiffany Manuel | Wednesday, August 22 | Lunch Keynote 12:15-1:45pm
Keynote: Over the last 30 years, we’ve watched the affordable housing and community development sectors grow in sophistication, reach and scale. The interest in regional planning and cross-sector collaboration in Michigan is growing as well. While much progress has been made, it is disheartening to see how many families across the state still lack a decent affordable place to live; the extent to which our communities are still racially and economically segregated and how difficult it continues to be to tap existing policies and programs to drive more equitable outcomes. In this presentation, Dr. Tiffany Manuel, vice president of Knowledge, Impact and Strategy at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., will discuss why it has been so difficult to build the public will to advance an equity agenda, how we can advance our work and she will also share a new publicly available resource–Opportunity 360–that will help us begin to do so.
Breakout: Do you ever struggle to explain why housing matters? As professionals in the affordable housing and homeless service fields, it can often be difficult to convey the importance of housing and to build public support for investing in the housing needs of those in our communities. However, in a time of increased need for scarce resources to do this work, it is more important than ever that housing professionals have a strong and persuasive message to share. This training at Developing Vibrant Communities will include an overview of how public audiences think about housing as an issue area; explains how/why some of our messaging is backfiring; and help you think through what language will help elevate your work. We will also talk about how to address the thorny challenges of community opposition to affordable housing.
The conference is August 21-22 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago – Detroit Branch.