The Partnership for Community Action (PCA) works to build powerful, engaged communities by investing in people and helping them find their voice in the communities they call home. By helping individuals take ownership of the solutions they inspire, we connect communities to policy makers, who, together, can create lasting change.
In 2014 PCA launched community-based economic advancement initiatives focused on local small business and family economic security. PCA works with families and small business to continuously gain a better understanding of economic challenges and opportunities to help support success. These initiatives have worked to build a supportive environment that helps small businesses and families thrive and draw upon existing strengths.
El Puente Business Network
Small businesses are the engines that drive our economic growth. With the help of the community, we can ensure that small businesses continue to serve as the bedrock for the local economy.
The Partnership for Community Action student interns have conducted ongoing surveys of small businesses in our South Valley community. The students asked business owners multiple-choice questions and requested they answer according to what best represented their small businesses. These questions were in the areas of finance, social issues, and customer service, and the goal of the surveys are to identify opportunities for growth of the community’s business sector.
The results of this surveys showed that South Valley businesses have a desire to build connections with other businesses and institutions, leverage their strengths and assets and bolster their weaknesses. The Partnership for Community Action partners with local business to create the El Puente Business Network to build a network of connections, both community-based and beyond, that helps small businesses build upon existing strengths. With the help of the community, we can ensure that small businesses continue to serve as the bedrock for the local economy.
Local Strategies to Regulate Predatory Lending
PCA leaders have fought tirelessly against predatory lenders and the economic duress these lenders create at the neighborhood level. As our state continues to struggle to regulate predatory lender interest rates and fees, PCA leaders are formulating innovative strategies to regulate predatory lending.
Since 2009, the prevalence of predatory lenders has risen within the Albuquerque Metro. Predatory lenders include payday lenders, installment loans, and title loans. According to the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department in 2012 consumers in New Mexico were charged $99 million in interest and fees on small loans with an annual percentage rate of 175% and higher – the majority of which was collected by out of state companies. Spatial analysis of predatory lenders show that they tend to cluster in low to moderate income communities. Clustering of predatory lenders tend to not only serve as an indicator of economic distress within a community, but also as an exacerbating factor in that distress.
Clustering of predatory lenders tend to not only serve as an indicator of economic distress within a community, but also as an exacerbating factor in that distress.
Contradicts investments in community
Predatory lenders are prevalent in predominantly low-income areas in Albuquerque. These areas correspond with much of the City’s redevelopment investment target, which is contradictory to the intent of those investments.
Since 2009, the prevalence of predatory lenders has risen within the Albuquerque Metro. There are approximately 116 predatory lenders located in the City, with 58 new locations having been established since just 2009
PCA leaders innovate solutions:
In 2015, PCA leaders pursued a City Council-led legislative proposal to regulate the physical location of predatory lender businesses within the City of Albuquerque. The proposal, sponsored by City Councilor Isaac Benton, called for a minimum distance of 1500 feet as measured from property line to property line for any new predatory lending business that seeks to open.
The proposal was first vetted by the City’s Environmental Planning Commission and received a unanimous vote in favor. In City Council, the proposal ultimately gained unanimous support and was amended to enact a one-mile minimum distance before a predatory lender can relocate into a community. The local community decided that they were not going to wait for the state to act on predatory lending – they took the matter into their own hands!
Family Economic Security:
In 2014, PCA leaders began the development of the early childhood parent-led Cooperativa, Korimi (“Rainbow” in the traditional language of the Tarahumara People of Northern Chihuahua). The Partnership supported the development of twelve parent leaders including Abriendo Puertas facilitators to start Cooperativa Korimí with the mission of improving early childhood systems for children. The founding members came together based on their shared goals that include creating a cooperativa that can support their family and community, to be able to expand upon the skill gained over the past several years and contribute significantly to the improvement of early childhood in the South Valley, and to work together for equity while creating supplemental income for themselves and the larger community.
Korimí has managed early childhood supportive services that includes Abriendo Puertas, Prosperity Kids child savings accounts for over 300 children, nutritional cooking classes for home-based early childhood providers for La Cosecha and First Choice, NMAEYC Shared Services, Coop Consulting and others.
Korimi has provided a leadership role in the recruitment and training of families to join the Prosperity Kids child savings account program- a partnership between PCA, Prosperity Works, and the Rio Grande Credit Union. The program is a new savings opportunities for underserved children. The program recruits families that have participated in the Abriendo Puertas early childhood courses to undergo financial literacy classes and open an individual development savings account, which allows these families to help prepare their children for a financially secure life and pave the way to higher education, buying a home, and more.