Lowell, MA: Financial Capital
Financial capital consists of the resources available to a community in terms of wealth and anything that can easily be translated into wealth. These resources can be used to “invest in community capacity building, to underwrite business development, to support civic and social entrepreneurship, and to accumulate wealth for future community development” (Green & Haines, 2016).
One indicator of financial capital is the state of a community’s housing market. Housing in Lowell is, for the most part, much cheaper than in surrounding towns. The median listing price for a home as of 2016 is $242,900. That’s far more affordable than my neighboring hometown of Chelmsford, where the median listing price is $424,900. (Zillow, 2016) However, the price of housing has steadily increased in the past 5 years. This increase has caused many to leave Lowell in order to seek out more affordable housing in other towns such as Nashua, NH.
Another aspect of financial capital is access to funding in a community. Lowell has a number of local banks such as Sage Bank, Lowell Five, and Mills42 Credit Union. Unlike corporate banks, these local institutions keep finances circulating within the community.
One CBO helping Lowell’s financial capital is the Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership. MVHP’s mission is to provide resources such as training, financial assistance, and special mortgage products to low and moderate-income earners. The organization offers many training and counseling programs to educate potential home owners. This type of resource is especially helpful to Lowell because of its prominent immigrant population, which is probably why home buyer training courses are offered in English, Spanish, and Khmer.
Green & Haines (2016) Asset Building & Community Development: Fourth Edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership. (2016) Mission. About us. Retrieved from http://www.mvhp.org/mission
Zillow. (2016) Lowell Home Prices & Values. Retrieved from http://www.zillow.com/lowell-ma/home-values/