The need for affordable housing is growing and housing authorities and developers receive federal resources to address the need. These resources generate employment and contracting opportunities for low-income residents. Yet, finding competent and reliable contractors is challenging. NISE links federal resources to low-income youth through the provision of paid work experiences, guidance in housing-related social enterprise start up, financial capability and adaptive skills.
There are several factors that make NISE a groundbreaking solution. First, its target population, which are low-income youth living in assisted housing in a particular neighborhood. Second, youth gain work experience in the housing industry earning a living wage while creating their own housing-related social enterprise which provides long-term career stability. Additionally, each youth will receive a comprehensive youth assessment to ensure school success, exposure to careers in the housing industry, training in financial capability, social enterprise creation and start-up capital through USI’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), connection to real-life contracting opportunities, and counseling to address trauma, social and emotional barriers that could impact success. NISE is innovative as it creates a pathway for youth to obtain knowledge, social, and economic capital while promoting youth entrepreneurship.
NISE Initiative Video: