ACE Blog Draft

This blog post was written by Becca Baas, learn more about Becca below. 

Far too often we hear about abused or neglected children – sometimes it’s the kind of story that makes you cringe, other times it breaks your heart. I worked at Onslow County Partnership for Children (OCPC), where reducing childhood abuse and neglect has always been an important part of our mission. Now, a new movement in prevention is changing our perspective on prevention. We are developing a broader approach to address the experiences and circumstances associated with abuse and neglect.

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Nothing Engages A Community Quite Like The Weather

Community emergencies are obviously challenging and stressful, and yet they can also be opportunities for local governments to earn trust and boost engagement.

Dangerous weather is something that all people experience — together. What we learn from our organization’s ability to share information, listen, empathize, encourage and respond during a weather emergency Continue Reading

The Danger of Confederate Statues, and the Danger of Removing Them

Five months after the Charlottesville rally and protest, the debate over what to do with numerous Confederate statues which pepper much of the South remains as strong – and as polarized – as ever before.

Just days after the massive protests and violence in the Virginia city, four Confederate monuments in Baltimore and three on the campus of the University of Texas, Austin were taken down by city authorities, with another in Durham toppled by protesters. In October, the scene was repeated in Lexington, Kentucky. Last month, two statues were removed in Memphis, while the infamous “Johnny Reb” statue expelled Continue Reading

Home Ownership and Civic Engagement: Benefits for Low-income Families

The Great Recession and crisis of 2007-2010 raised questions about whether low and moderate-income families should be home owners, given the financial risk, or would be better off as renters. Beyond the financial arguments about property investment and equity is the question of other potential benefits in being a homeowner.

I’m glad to point readers to research by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Dr. Roberto Quercia, and his colleagues Kim Manturuk and Mark R. Lindblad, in their new book A Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership. They found that homeownership has important non-financial benefits for low- and moderate-income people.

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Housing Builds a Healthy Economy

How can housing, health, and employment build a healthy economy?

What happens when housing declines?

How can we engage our community in re-building a healthy economy?

I’m glad to show the positive connections between safe and affordable housing and benefits to the community and individuals of a stronger local economy and healthier people. As the graphic above shows, what we sometimes think of as separate things – jobs and economic activity, or asthma and health care – actually link back to housing.

Here’s what I see in Greensboro – I’m eager to hear how other communities are working on similar kinds of engagement of residents, citizens, health care people, and university resources. Continue Reading

What Barn Raising Looks Like in Petaluma, California

My last post argued that we should think of the role of local government in communities more in terms of “barn raising” than the more transactional metaphor of a vending machine. This idea was put forth in the great book Community and the Politics of Place by former Missoula, Montana mayor Daniel Kemmis, and later picked up in a popular article written by Frank Benest, former city manager of Palo Alto, California. The crux of the notion is the need for communities to move away from an “us” and “them” relationship between citizens and community organizations on the one hand, and local government on the other, and rather think of local government as a key community institution that is both part of and an extension of the community.

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The Beauty of a Co-op

We all love a Durham Food Co-op.

The one that formerly graced the corner of Carroll and Chapel Hill Streets, adorned with the Pauli Murray poster and so delightfully dedicated to its employees? The one where neither service, sustainability, nor unexpired foods were specialties? (You know, the one that now houses The Cookery?) Yes, I love that one!

The new co-op, three blocks further west into the West End, gleaming, modern, and so sustainably run that middle class member loyalty comes, but does not go – much like the rising average median incomes surrounding it? Yes, I love that one!

The one in East Durham, that’s only open once a month, focuses on low-income membership, Continue Reading