Campus & Community

Joint Center seeks emerging leaders

3 min read

Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. are offering a competitive summer fellowship opportunity for forward-thinking Harvard students in law, business, planning, and public administration/policy. Blending academics and field experience, the 2005 Emerging Leaders in Community and Economic Development Fellowship program is open to University students in the fields of study mentioned above who are not in their graduating year.

Students should have a commitment to and knowledge of the community and economic development field, and must be committed to co-developing, leading, and completing a minimum 10-week, full-time analytical project.

Compensation includes $7,000, plus travel and research expenses; paid enrollment in the Neighborhood Reinvestment Training Institute; project mentoring by Joint Center faculty; potential for publication as part of the center’s working paper series; and an opportunity to present findings in Washington, D.C.

This year’s research topics include:

“The Case for Rental Housing.” Does the rent versus own choice reflect all the options that could be available to underserved communities?

“Vacant and Abandoned Property: Community Development’s Most Visible Challenge or Most Significant Opportunity?” What motivates owners to abandon property? How do regulations and policies encourage or discourage such behavior?

“Rethinking Personal Asset Building Strategies: Understanding Financial Literacy and Credit Health from a Psychology and/or Behavioral Economics Perspective.” How do the financial attitudes of the low-income and minority households typically served by Neighbor Works organizations differ from other market segments?

“Overcoming Mortgage Finance and Credit Constraints in Rural Areas.” Recent and planned revisions to the Community Reinvestment Act have set off a storm of protests among rural advocates, but what are the special credit needs of rural communities?

“Effective Strategies for Long-term Home Ownership Affordability.” What strategies exist to make homeownership affordable for the long term?

“Creating a Sustainable Business Model for Housing and Home Buyer Counseling.” Many nonprofits lose money providing housing counseling. What is an appropriate system for supporting this work?

“Community Building Strategies and Predatory Lending.” Examine how predatory lending has emerged as one of the formidable impediments to asset accumulation in low- and moderate-income communities.

“Benefits Limitations and Requirements of Tenant Participation.” Examine Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-sponsored redevelopment programs that have featured tenant participation as an integral part of design, development, and management of large-scale rehab projects.

To apply, answer the following three questions in a cover letter: How have your past professional and educational experiences prepared you for this fellowship opportunity? What interests you most about this opportunity and what do you hope to learn? And lastly, why does the field of community and economic development interest you? Applicants should send a resume with their current address, phone number, and e-mail address, and two letters of reference to Pamela H. Baldwin, deputy director, Joint Center for Housing Studies, 1033 Massachusetts Ave., 5th floor, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail and fax submissions are also welcome at, or at (617) 496-9957.

A fellowship information session will be held Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. The application deadline is Feb. 28, and fellows will be announced on March 18. For more information, contact Elizabeth England, the center’s program coordinator, at (617) 495-7640.