Archive | Events

Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable 2017

Contact: Janet Xiao
Tel: 919-797-9233
Email: janetx@communityef.org

Contact: Grace Mok
Tel: 516-499-0393
Email: gracem@communityef.org

MAYOR BILL BELL TO HOST THE 2017 MAYOR’S LANDLORD ROUNDTABLE

A community gathering regarding housing vouchers and affordable housing

Mayor Bill Bell will convene the 2017 Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable—the second annual gathering of landlords, Durham Housing Authority (DHA) leadership, non-profits and community members—to continue a discussion about housing vouchers and affordable housing in Durham.

The Roundtable will take place on July 11 from 10:00am to 11:30am at the Temple Building in downtown Durham. The event is organized by the Unlocking Doors Initiative—a partnership working toward affordable housing in Durham—and will be open to the public. An RSVP is preferred but not required. Over 130 people attended last year, including 48 landlords and property management companies and representatives from over 50 organizations.

A roundtable conversation with landlords and property managers on how the private sector can engage in affordable housing efforts will be the focal point of the event. After a short welcome from Mayor Bell, the Durham Housing Authority CEO Anthony Scott will provide an update on their progress since the 2016 Roundtable. The Unlocking Doors Initiative will also provide opportunities for landlords to create affordable housing partnerships with area nonprofit organizations.

The event will also be an opportunity for community members to learn about and show support for Housing Choice Vouchers. Previously known as Section 8 Vouchers, the program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD describes the program as “the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market.” Vouchers are considered a tool to end homelessness and increase affordable housing opportunities.

The Roundtable takes place as Bell enters the end of his tenure as Durham’s mayor. It also takes place soon after the City awarded a $4 million grant to DHA to repurchase Fayette Place and after the Durham City Council approved an increase to the City’s dedicated housing fund. City Council and the four mayoral candidates Farad Ali, Pierce Freelon, Kershemia “Shea” Ramirez and Steve Schewel have received personal invitations to the event.

About the Unlocking Doors Initiative

The Unlocking Doors Initiative is a partnership initiative between local landlords and property managers, the Durham Housing Authority, and area non-profits. A main goal of the initiative is to increase landlord partnerships with tenants who are returning to permanent housing after a period of homelessness, using housing vouchers as a tool.
To learn more, visit www.unlockingdoorsdurham.org or email us at info@unlockingdoorsdurham.org.

Photographs from the 2016 Landlord Roundtable

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Financial Independence Day 2017

The CEF Community is proud to announce the 6th annual Financial Independence Day on Saturday July 8th at Umstead Park in Chapel Hill. Join us as we celebrate member savings, accomplishments and financial freedom!

Things to get excited about

  • Performances by the infamous CEF Advocacy Choir
  • The Safe Savings raffle with prizes
  • Live entertainment and a showcasing of community talents
  • Arts and crafts and other fun activities for children

Things to know:

  • Carpools are available (make sure to RSVP)
  • Bringing a side dish if you want to share!
  • Bring a chair or a picnic blanket to share if you have extra!
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CEF’s TED Talk: Homeless, and Outsaving Half of the United States

Presented at the 2017 TEDxUNC event at Memorial Hall: CEF’s Co-Founders / Co-Directors sharing the transformative story of a group of college students and shelter residents who built a community organization and financial tools that support sustained transitions out of homelessness. The CEF Advocacy Choir sings to close out the talk, with an original song about the joy of finding a home after experiencing homelessness.

photographs by TEDxUNC

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Using Behavioral Economics to Explore the Transition to Housing

Thank you to the over 70 participants from partner agencies that attended the workshop CEF co-hosted with the Common Cents Lab focused on “Using Behavioral Economics to Explore the Transition to Housing.”

Together, we brainstormed about how behavioral economics might help nonprofits think creatively about building better programs and smarter solutions to support individuals moving out of homelessness. The incredible team at the Common Cents Lab shared an introduction to the principles of behavioral economics, and led the group through an interactive workshop to put those principles into action for better program design.

Behavioral economics is “the study of how people really make choices–not in a simplified economic model, but in the textured and rich reality of daily life, and draws on insight from both psychology and economics” (CFED).

CEF is working with the Common Cent Labs this year to apply these learnings to our partnerships with shelters to promote increased engagement with CEF’s matched savings accounts in a way that supports Members in achieving short-term savings goals and builds longer-term saving habits. Through our last joint project with the team, we implemented a new way for Members to track progress towards their savings goals through a punchcard and tested its efficacy through a randomized control trial. Every time Members in the trial group made a deposit, they received a punch, and received gold tokens and new levels of punchcards after each card was filled. An article is soon to be published by the research documenting the promising results of this study… Just for a preview: “Members who received the punchcard to track their deposits completed 30% more of their goal than members who were in the control condition” (Guzman and Tepper, full article to be published late spring 2017).

Indiana received the very first punch on a CEF Savings Card! This piggy- themed punch card developed with Common Cents Lab, tracks each deposit and captures progress towards her goals!

We are excited to continue learning throughout this year with the team at the Common Cents Lab! Since the workshop, partners have shared that they are still really thinking about how behavioral economic analysis such as “tunneling” or “friction costs” can be addressed in their own work. Building on the incredible momentum of bringing 70 of our partners into the room together to explore these concepts, we got feedback from participants on where to go from here in our collaborative learning, and will be exploring other topics in the months to come — such as “Manage Cash Flow after Housing Transitions,” and “Overcome Barriers to Banking.

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CEF Speaking at TEDxUNC April 2nd!

Presented at the 2017 TEDxUNC event at Memorial Hall: CEF’s Co-Founders / Co-Directors sharing the transformative story of a group of college students and shelter residents who built a community organization and financial tools that support sustained transitions out of homelessness. The CEF Advocacy Choir sings to close out the talk, with an original song about the joy of finding a home after experiencing homelessness.

photographs by TEDxUNC

Join us   Sunday, April 2nd from 1-2pm at UNC Memorial Hall to hear Co-founders and Co-Directors Maggie West,  Jon Young, and Janet Xiao share the story of how a student group transformed into a non-profit and a community that strives together towards better solutions and supports for individuals experiencing and at-risk of homelessness. The CEF Advocacy Choir and will be unveiling a new celebration song, that captures the joy of moving from homelessness into housing.

TEDxUNC is an all afternoon event from 12-6pm, with speakers of all kinds speaking about topics related to the idea of home. CEF’s presentation will be at the end of the 2nd section called “Boroughs” that is happening from 1-2pm.  Please come at 1 pm if you can to catch our talk!

You don’t need tickets to attend – it’s open to the public at Memorial Hall. Hope to see you there!

Members and Advocates, join in a special part of the talk by singing with the CEF Advocacy Choir. Contact us at (919) 200-0233 or reach out to Yvette at yvettem@communityef.org to join in!

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CEF FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION

                                                                                                        CEF FID

                                                                             –  CEF members, advocates, and staff enjoying Financial Independence Day!  

By: Katie Wiley

Traveling alone, the climb toward financial independence can seem longer and higher, with brambles lining the curves of the gravel roads. Building credit and savings takes both time and persistence, as well as the grit to continuously set and work toward new goals, knowing that no step is insignificant. Yet, one does not need to seek this independence alone. Instead, members and advocates of the Community Empowerment Fund have chosen to recognize the strength in each other and in their relationships with one another through Financial Independence Day. On the evening of Friday, July 10th, 2015, the CEF community came together once again to celebrate each other. Under the cool shade of the trees at Chapel Hill Community Center, folks enjoyed tangy cole slaw, flawlessly charred hot dogs, brownies and other sweet treats at the picnic tables.

Whether cheering on the fierce competition at the corn holes, dribbling around on the basketball courts barefooted, or jamming to the summertime music playlist, everyone had the opportunity to step away from busy weeks to simply appreciate time with one another. A talent show also featured several artists, including a guitar solo, the reenactment of classic Power Rangers poses, and some joyful singing.

After tasting all of the food, everyone gathered for the Savings Raffle, in which CEF Savers were celebrated for their efforts in the CEF Safe Savings program and working toward their own financial independence. Everyone who had made a deposit in his or her account over the past month was recognized, receiving a prize from local Chapel Hill and Durham businesses.

Financial independence can mean different things for everyone. For Dorothy, financial independence is a car that allows her to drive wherever she hopes to go—whereas for Sharon, it is paying back her school loans. For others, it might be to save for a housing deposit, to declare independence from an unjust financial system, to pay back past hospital bills. It might be to get a laptop, to start a new business, or to save for a rainy day. Each of us may have different goals, but together as a community, we will continue to support each other as we climb.

Happy FID everyone!

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Holiday Party Slideshow

Click here to see a slideshow of pictures from the CEF Holiday Party 2014!

CEF Holiday Party 2014

CEF Holiday Party 2014

Slideshow of pictures from the amazing party held on December 4, 2014 and co-hosted with Love Chapel Hill (major thanks for their sponsorship of the great food at the event!).

Thank you to all the members, advocates, partners, and friends who attended, and major kudos and congratulations to all of the CEF graduates who were recognized during the ceremony.

Happy Holidays!

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CEF 5k Sponsored by Duke's Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity

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Last week’s Saturday morning, Duke’s Alphi Phi Omega Fraternity sponsored and led a 5K event for CEF. Before the event, APO members and a couple of CEF advocates worked hard on spreading the word and getting donations and registrations throughout Duke’s campus. While some students were happy to just donate, others were looking forward to spending a Saturday morning with a nice workout.

Upon arriving at the main sign-in table, I was surprised to see so many people getting pumped for the 5K. It was Duke’s parent’s weekend, so even parents were sporting their running wear and warming up for the long run. The weather was sunny, although a bit chilly, but everyone was ready to go! We all took a picture at the starting line, and began the run after the hallmark “Ready,Set,GO!”. Some participants immediately sprinted while others took it easy with a walk.

The course started from the field hockey stadium and circled all around Duke’s East campus. As runners, we were instructed to run it twice to complete the 5K. I’m not such a great runner myself, but it was great to be doing it alongside other people who could motivate me to keep going.  At the end, we all met up back at the sign-in table to eat some snacks and grab Google android toys and sunglasses as souvenirs.

Afterwards, I talked to Carlton Adams, a CEF-Durham advocate for Alliance Architecture and APO fraternity brother. He told me how once he mentioned CEF to APO, his co-ed fraternity dedicated to service, they were very willing to name CEF as their non-profit for the semester. A committee of 10 APO members worked on publicizing, tabling, marking paths, purchasing food, getting music, and getting logistics ready for the event.  CEF advocates also participated through tabling,donating, telling friends, and running the 5K. In all, APO raised $300, and 70 runners participated in the 5K. The event was a success, and was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.

As a CEF advocate, I think it is awesome that other organizations such as APO are invested in supporting CEF by fundraising and spreading CEF’s name, and am thankful of their efforts.

 

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233

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