The National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities Response to COVID-19

Racial Equity Lens and Approach

The National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities encourages all practitioners to act with exceptional care in using a racial equity lens and approach in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, exercising intentionality about sensitivity to stigma, structural disadvantage and a sense of belonging in their communities.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the new challenges it presents to mixed-income communities across the country NIMC has acted in accordance with our mission to promote urban equity and inclusion through impact research that achieves more effective and durable social change outcomes and our vision for more equitable and inclusive communities and cities.

Creating a Space for Housing Providers

Representatives from a mixed-income community contacted our Triple Aim Impact Consulting colleague Frankie Blackburn, who is the Founding Partner at Trusted Space Partners, with an urgent request for guidance on how to manage emerging challenges related to supporting residents through the COVID-19 pandemic. These representatives wanted to know how other mixed-income housing providers were managing this situation, but lacked a way to effectively connect with them.

In response Ms.Blackburn acted quickly to mobilize partners who could facilitate such a conversation and reached out to NIMC for support. We worked with one of our Research Affiliates, Dr. Dustin Read, Associate Professor at Virginia Tech, and Assistant Director of the Program in Real Estate.

Together, the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities, Trusted Space Partners, and the Programs in Property Management and Real Estate at Virginia Tech convened a virtual gathering of affordable housing providers, operating a diverse set of mixed-income communities across the U.S. in order to create a space of mutual support and resource sharing, with hopes of developing recommendations that could be broadly shared.

Sharing Resources

We crafted a series of relevant discussion questions and provided facilitation to the group, which created a space of unprecedented support among housing organizations. Attendees presented a host of innovations from their communities, and openly asked questions, sharing resources among one another.

Attendees generously gave their time for a total of two meetings, which were used to produce a series of recommendations presented in “Helping Residents of Affordable Housing Cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The report includes a variety of innovative practices, and seeks to support others in the field in their efforts to manage challenges related to the pandemic.

Continuing the Conversation

We realize many affordable housing professionals are managing challenges related to COVID- 19 within their communities, and that many are rapidly innovating practices that might benefit others in similar positions.

As the situation evolves we welcome the opportunity to do what we can in providing facilitation and guidance to create up to date best practices that can be broadly shared with others who would benefit. The trio of organizations involved in this partnership are committed to providing support to the mixed-income field as housing organizations continue to grapple with uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.