Ludwig CED Clinic
Promoting Community Banking:
CED represents First City Fund Corporation (FCFC), a non-profit foundation formed to support community development activities in the City of New Haven, with a primary purpose of organizing New Haven’s first community development bank: Start Community Bank. Students play a number of roles, including: 1) advising FCFC on legal issues such as corporate structure, tax considerations, and regulatory compliance; 2) working closely with the bank’s CEO to develop both legal and business aspects of the bank; and 3) developing new ideas and products for the foundation and bank, such as student savings plans.
Combating the Foreclosure Crisis:
CED became involved in addressing the foreclosure crisis in the fall of 2008. Bringing together representatives of various community and governmental organizations, CED helped to form the ROOF (Real Options, Overcoming Foreclosure) Project. ROOF is a collaborative of representatives from city government, counseling agencies, legal assistance agencies and other community organizations. The students researched and designed a multi-pronged response to the crisis in New Haven. Because of the success of ROOF, the effort was recently regionalized to all 15 towns within the Southern Connecticut Regional Council of Governments (SCRCG). Further, because of ROOF’s early efforts, New Haven’s program has been recognized as the most advanced in the state and among the most successful in the country. The Clinic’s work in this area has included: 1) implementing the local Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), a federally funded program that allows cities to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell foreclosed properties in order to protect neighborhoods; 2) conducting outreach and education to policymakers, homeowners, lenders, and other parties involved in the crisis; and 3) and working to ensure that tenants in foreclosed properties receive adequate protections. Armed with the knowledge of what are effective strategies to responding to the foreclosure crisis, the Clinic was contacted by the Opportunity Funding Corporation (OFC), Inc. of Washington, D.C. With OFC as a client, the students facilitated the engagement of over 70 thought leaders to develop the first of two policy white papers on responses to the continuing crisis. This year, the clinic continues its work with OFC, drilling down on one of the most promising of the first white paper’s recommendation: pre-foreclosure intervention, at a large enough scale, to stabilize neighborhoods and right-size housing prices. [These two white papers can be found here and here.]
Serving Community Development Organizations and Projects:
The clinic represents several area nonprofits, for-profits entities and collaboratives that seek to improve the economic well-being of New Haven residents, especially those with low incomes. Our clients currently include a range of entities that help to make up the rich and textured fabric of civil society in New Haven, including: the Greater Dwight Development Corporation (GDDC), St. Luke's Development Corporation, St. Luke’s Senior Housing, the Hannah Gray Home, the Dixwell Plaza Merchants’ Association, and the Varick Center for Empowerment. Current projects with these clients include multi-million-dollar real estate development projects and job and business creation strategies.
Advancing Education Reform: Starting in the fall of 2010, the CED clinic added a project group in non-litigation school reform. New Haven Public Schools, the Mayor, Yale University and many other major community institutions had come together to commit to a comprehensive reform effort to close the achievement gap. The City turned to the clinic to support these efforts. The clinic’s first project involved the creation and operation of New Haven Promise, a not-for-profit organization that guarantees college tuition for any graduate of the New Haven Public School system. In the following semesters, the clinic has deepened its direct engagement with the public schools, working on projects ranging from parental engagement strategies to research on how to share confidential information with wrap-around service providers. New Haven has gained national recognition for the development of a teacher evaluation system that includes student performance data which was developed in collaboration with the teachers’ union. The clinic supported the district during the first critical year of implementation of this evaluation system, developing processes for the collection and analysis of data that would meet the requirement of the contract.
Promoting Sustainable Food Policy:
CED promotes local agriculture and community access to wholesome food through the representation of CitySeed, Inc., a nonprofit based in New Haven, and the New Haven Food Policy Council. In addition to running a network of five farmer’s markets in New Haven, CitySeed’s mission is to promote the creation of a sustainable economy in New Haven. For almost two years, CitySeed and the clinic worked on improving the quality of food in local schools. These efforts led to the drafting of a policy paper and a conference in 2010 on reforming the federal farm bill. The Clinic also works with the New Haven Food Policy Council, which was formed through municipal ordinance and is charged with researching and identifying policies and programs to improve the food system in New Haven to make it more sustainable and healthier. The students are researching and, in some cases, drafting legislation to address such issues as minimizing the negative impact of fast food and promoting local sourcing of food by governmental agencies.