The Network provides the assets field with resources to learn about and advocate for asset-based policies and programs. Resources are available for local, state and federal advocates and policymakers, and include data tools, reports, policy briefs and guides. You can use these resources to brush up on current policies you are advocating for, or use the briefs as leave-behinds with policymakers. You can also find Network policy resources in the Network Resource Library.
Local Assets & Opportunity Profiles (June 2010-present):
CFED’s Local Assets & Opportunity Profiles are data tools that can help city leaders and advocates understand and assess the critical problems that perpetuate financial insecurity among their residents. The Local Assets & Opportunity Profiles are the ideal resource to help fuel a productive and focused conversation about the conditions of financial insecurity and inequality in a community. They contain information to help community leaders take action to address those conditions, and to do so by working across traditional silos The Profiles also provide examples of innovative and effective strategies that cities and counties from across the nation are using to increase the incomes, savings, assets and financial capability of households.
CFED has partnered with local foundations and community organizations to create customized profiles for a number of cities across the United States. Visit the Local Assets & Opportunity Profile page to see the list of cities and download the profile.
Six Ways to Start Building Financial Security and Opportunity at the Local Level (January 2013)
In recent years, many cities have begun to focus on parlaying residents’ income through job creation and job training strategies into savings and durable assets. To explore options available to cities large and small for engaging in asset-building strategies, CFED and National League of Cities published Taking the First Step: Six Ways to Start Building Financial Security and Opportunity at the Local Level.
Local leaders are pioneering new ways to leverage the resources and regulatory power of municipalities to work across departmental silos and public/private sector divides to scale up economic inclusion and asset-building opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. Municipal governments are uniquely poised to implement innovative and effective programs, create powerful partnerships and deliver forward-thinking services to the communities they serve every day. CFED worked closely with members of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition to understand these emerging efforts, and the resulting report, Building Economic Security in America’s Cities: New Municipal Strategies for Asset Building and Financial Empowerment, highlights the work cities across the country are doing to educate, empower and protect residents in the financial marketplace. This report represents a comprehensive effort to document the range of municipal policies and programs that are being used to enhance the financial security of low-income families during a time of deep recession.
Treading Water in the Deep: Findings from the 2014 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard (January 2014)
Five years into the economic recovery, most American families no longer live in fear of losing their jobs or their homes. Yet, these families continue to exist in a state of persistent financial insecurity, making it difficult to look beyond immediate needs and plan for a more secure future. While indicators like unemployment, foreclosure and credit card debt show a slow but steady decline, the percentage of people who do not have a personal financial safety net hasn’t budged. Nearly half (44%) of households in the United States are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they have less than three months’ worth of savings—conservatively measured as $5,887 for a family of four, or three times monthly income at the poverty level.
State-Level Stroke-of-a-Pen Guide (November 2011)
In a weak economy, with high unemployment and shrinking services, constituents are hungry for some “good news” about what policymakers are doing to improve constituents’ economic prospects. This State-Level Stroke-of-a-Pen Guide provides two dozen examples of positive steps government can take to help constituents—more and more of whom are facing financial insecurity—weather a bad economy.
Assets & Opportunity Scorecard Policy Resources
The Assets & Opportunity Scorecard is a comprehensive look at Americans’ financial security today and their opportunities to create a more prosperous future. It assesses the 50 states and the District of Columbia on 133 outcome and policy measures, which describe how well residents are faring and what states can do to help them build and protect assets. These measures are grouped into five issue areas: Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education.
The Scorecard provides many tools for you to use in your state policy advocacy efforts, including policy briefs, resource guides, and customizable state profiles and reports.
State Profiles and Custom Reports (January 2014)
Visit the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard Reports & Graphics page to download state-specific profiles and data reports. State profiles and custom reports can be used in your advocacy efforts and graphics can easily be inserted into presentations, reports or websites.
Scorecard Policy Briefs (January 2014)
Policy Briefs outline why the policy matters, what states can do to improve the policy, the elements of a strong policy and the impact and results of policy change to date. To download a policy brief with your state’s data, visit the customizable Policy Brief page.
In addition to the content in the Policy Briefs, Resource Guides include examples of successful policy change strategies, state precedents, advice on policy campaigns and where to find additional resources.
- State IDA Program Support (Updated in 2014)
- Lifting Asset Limits in Public Benefit Programs (Updated in 2012)
- Protections from Predatory Short-Term Loans (Updated in 2012)
- College Savings Incentives (Updated in 2012)
- Tax Credits for Working Families (Updated 2012)
- State Microenterprise Support (Updated in 2012)
- Job Quality Standards (Updated in 2012)
- Foreclosure Prevention and Protections (Updated in 2012)
- First-Time Homebuyer Assistance (Updated in 2012)
- Access to Health Insurance (Updated in 2012)
- Access to Quality K-12 Education (Updated in 2013)
- Financial Education in Schools (Updated in 2012)
Scorecard Policy Innovation Briefs:
In the 2009-2010 edition of the Scorecard, CFED highlighted several of new and creative approaches to addressing social issues through our new Policy Innovations. You can find more detailed information about these innovative policies in the briefs below.
- New Entrepreneur Tax Credit (Updated in 2009) – A New Entrepreneur Tax Credit that would help disadvantaged startups reap the benefits of formalizing their businesses
- Manufactured Housing (Updated in 2011) – Manufactured housing as a path to affordable homeownership
- Shared Equity Homeownership (Updated in 2009) – Shared-equity homeownership as a way for low-income families to become homeowners and at the same time maintain home affordability for future homebuyers
- Children’s Development Accounts (Updated in 2009) – Matched savings accounts for children and youth, established at birth and allowed to grow over a lifetime
- Universal Voluntary Retirement Accounts (Updated in 2009) – Helping more Americans better prepare for retirement
- Curbing Predatory Car Title Loans (Updated in 2009) – Helping low-income individuals avoid the repercussions of predatory lending practices
- Shared Equity Business Ownership (Updated in 2010) – Business ownership is second only to home ownership as a source of wealth for Americans
- Tips for a Successful Congressional Meeting (June 2013)
- The Role of Asset-Building in Housing Finance Reform (April 2014)
- Alternative Data Helps families Build Credit and Wealth (April 2014)
- Abusive Debt Collection Practices Increase Financial Instability (March 2014)
- Lifting Asset Limits Helps Families Save (February 2014)
- Expanding Retirement Security for All Workers (February 2014)
- Reauthorize Assets for Independence (February 2014)
- Predatory Lending Takes Advantage of Financial Security (January 2014)
- Upside Down – Tax Incentives to Save & Build Wealth (January 2014)
- Child Savings Accounts Expand Opportunity (January 2014)