Social and economic safety nets

AARP’s July-August 2011 issue highlights a newly constructed attached units community within a program called Soldier On. With solar panels on the roof, and economic and social support systems, 39 veterans are experiencing their lives transformed.

This is a great example of  the kinds of qualities found in what I call a Sustainable Urban Village-social, economic, and ecological sustainability in action.  Enjoy.

once homeless, these veterans now own homes in their own Pittsfield, Mass. community

Formerly homeless with many years self medicating, they now have their own apartments, a share of the ownership, and a voice in how the place is run. The rents, from $580 tp $682 are partically subsidizied by HUD and the Dept of Veterans Affairs.

Each resident had to pay $2500 to buy a limited-equity ownership in the development. Local banks have offered to lend them the downpayment money interest free, if  necessary. If money is left over at the end of the year after all the bills are paid, each resident/owner gets his share of the rebate.  This year each got a $2100 rebate, after paying approximately $7000 in rent.

A substance abuse counselor, as well as job-training and medical services are available and often are delivered to their apartment, or the transitional shelter building next door.  A Local bank sponsors one-on-one money management sessions. Rides are available to go job interviews, and to a support service, as only 17%of the men have driver’s licences… READ MORE >>

Homeless in a Sustainable Urban Village

“Giving something back”

Just that simple, core.  this video is awesome.  I’m  usually uncomfortable around homeless.  I love the idea of being my brother’s keeper, doing onto other’s how I would like to be treated. But I get squeamish none the less, when I think about how to help the homeless learn to fish. This month’s AARP Bulletin has this article and video.

Check out these creative financing and ownership mechanisms!

Sustainable Urban Villages would certainly use these kind of supportive concepts to make sustainable real!

A Match Made in Heaven

Foundation Investing and Your Vision of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Foundations grant 5% of their assets and invest 95%.  As I understand it, the branch of the foundation that invests has very little connection to the branch that makes grants.  In fact, sometimes their actions are running against each other.

The beauty of socially, economically, and ecologically sustainable neighborhoods, is they meet both objectives! The social mission of empowering, resilient, health lifestyles, uplifting,  poverty busting, social justice,  ecologically sound, and local economic development all gets handled in  ”mixed use, mixed income neighborhoods with lifelong learning and open space” .

The investment mission gets handled in creating large opportunities for investing in real, lasting values!

So… submit your ideas, your vision of the sustainable life you want to be living. As the needs aggregate, the existing market demand for sustainable neighborhoods becomes more apparent. Once the construction industry, from builders to banks to investors, finally accepts the go-go days  are gone, they will become more open to this new form of community based in real, lasting values. National foundations will have something to invest in that meets their asset needs. And their funding branch will see their missions move forward.

Your vision of your desired future sustainable lifestyle and billions of foundation $$$ assets ….A match made in heaven!!…

READ MORE >>

Free Up Disposable Income, Ditch the Car

Mixed use neighborhood. Sounds simple. Saves money. Artur C. Nelson presented the info. Robert Steuteville wrote about it.  The question remains…where do you want to live?

“The average American family spends 32 percent of its income on housing and 19 percent on transportation, leaving 49 percent for all other expenditures. Those who live in auto-dependent suburbs spend 25 percent of their income on transportation, leaving only 43 percent for all other expenses. Those who live in transit-rich neighborhoods spend only 9 percent on transportation, leaving far more money for discretionary expenses.”

Another beautiful thing about living in a walkable mixed use community, is the attached part.  Just by the virtue of being attached, your house has less exterior wall exposed, thus a savings in heating and cooling,  and less maintenance. Polar Sam gives it two big thumbs up!… READ MORE >>

Creative, Affordable Healthcare

What’s a sustainable lifestyle without affordable healthcare??? Just as we’re called upon to re-innovate our neighborhoods sustainable, so are we challenged to bring creativity to healthcare.

1st we create a healthy lifestyle! With a mixed use, mixed income community, we get a pedestrian centered way of life, where we walk to many of our daily tasks. The shorter commute and more affordable lifestyle makes for less stress. More exercise, less stress, means less need for healthcare over one’s lifespan. Just the act of living is preventative medicine!!!

Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his innovation in creating micro-credit programs for poor women and now he’s bringing innovation in healthcare to impoverished women as well.

His program, Grameen Healthcare is designed for low-cost, affordable health services for all of Bangladesh, especially the lowest income women and children, and sustain these services thru social business. Whereas the program is 90% self supportive,  Yunus believes it will become completely self supportive!

“We are excited to support the Grameen Nurse Institute, a breakthrough social business model that could transform the health care industry by positioning girls as not just the beneficiaries of services, but the agents of future change,” said Lisa MacCallum, Managing Director of the Nike Foundation. “In our work so far at the Nike Foundation, we have learned that if you start with a girl, everyone else benefits: boys, women, men also. That’s the power of the girl effect.”

READ MORE >>

Health and Healing- Inner work in a supportive environment!

the light body

Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual levels of health

Whoa, this is a huge component to a sustainable lifestyle.  In many ways, health is  an indicator of  sustainability. There’s inner health, coming to grips with emotional, mental, and spiritual issues. And of course, there are the elements of physical  and outer health.

A newborn’s health begins in the womb. Diet and food quality, toxicity in the environment, stress in our lives, how loving our environment, and what kinds of options we have available as we age and transition from this plane are just a few of the profound components that come into play…. READ MORE >>
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