In April 2014, a convening of national housing equity experts was hosted in Jacksonville, Florida by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. The convening's purpose was to gain insight from national stakeholders on affordable housing and equitable development challenges and opportunities in Jacksonville. From this two-day engagement, a number of major challenges and opportunities facing Jacksonville's housing development were clearly identified. Two of these findings directly inform this research effort.
First, to meet the needs of Jacksonville's marginalized communities, an intentional focus on equity must stay at the forefront of community housing and development strategies. Second, if equity-focused development efforts are better aligned with health and/or educational stakeholders, affordable housing and equitable development could blossom in Jacksonville.
Stable and affordable housing is essential to educational success and positive health outcomes for families and for communities. While the linkage between housing and educational and health outcomes is clear, educational and health stakeholders have not traditionally been deeply engaged in meeting housing need. Emerging initiatives across the country are countering this disengagement, demonstrating the important role that anchor institutions can play in supporting local housing needs. Community anchor institutions, such as educational entities (particularly higher education) and health care organizations can be powerful institutional resources to support equitable housing and community development. Throughout the nation, successful anchor institute-led housing interventions have been transformational in addressing community housing needs and community revitalization. These efforts have been most effective when equity goals are integrated into the design and implementation of anchor institute-led housing efforts.
The following report provides select case studies with a strong social equity focus and comparability to Jacksonville. We identify lessons learned and summarize models which can be equally transformative in Jacksonville from these case studies. We also draw upon recent research and scholarship, and our own interviews with experts and practitioners. The goal of providing these lessons learned and model practices is to help inform, and potentially engage, various anchor institutes in Jacksonville -- organizations with resources that could help meet community housing needs and support equitable community development. This could help strengthen social, educational, economic and health outcomes for all of Jacksonville, including its most vulnerable residents.