Asset Building During a Pandemic

Asset Building During a Pandemic: Doing More Than What it Takes to Survive, Building the Economy We Always Have Needed.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has rocked the health and financial lives of low income communities, communities of color, and all of those at the intersections of historical oppression- the very communities that CABC members provide services to and advocate for. The thousands of California families who have been hit with sudden loss of income without any intergenerational wealth to fall back on are at risk of losing their housing, basic utilities like power, water, gas, phone and internet service, their cars and even food.

Asset ownership determines how well a household, a business, or a community fares during an economic crisis.

Assets shape financial resilience, which shape family and community physical and mental health, housing and food security, and more.

Our report, Building the Economy We Have Always Needed, shows that CABC members have done more than step up. They have shifted, pivoted, prioritized, and collaborated with others to ensure their communities’ survival and stabilization and to build the economic policy infrastructure that should and could have prevented the magnitude of the crises we now have. They are providing direct cash relief to people who need it to make ends meet day to day and increasing advocacy for policies that will meet the actual need for healthcare, education, housing, consumer and entrepreneur financial protection, work protections, and basic utilities for the long-term.

Many have succeeded in their efforts, at least temporarily, by working with funders and local officials: they have raised significant funds that have been distributed to families in dire need and have secured moratoria on evictions and utility-shut offs. They have also worked in coalition to protect small but meaningful amounts of resources people had or received in the form of COVID-19 relief from garnishment, levy, and intercept. The writing is on proverbial the wall, however, that many if not most of these resources will soon fade away without significant work by CABC and our allies, including policy makers, leaders in the funding community, and other advocates to make the temporary wins permanent and even stronger.