The main feature in this edition of Community Dividend revisits a calamity that struck the Ninth Federal Reserve District nearly a decade ago. In the spring of 1997, a historic flood of the Red River of the North devastated much of Grand Forks, N.D., and East Grand Forks, Minn. In retrospect, disaster response measures were effective overall, but low-income populations might have fared better in the long term if recovery plans designed for their specific circumstances had been in place. Our article describes the official response to the flood, examines gaps in the response that left many low-income people adrift and identifies lessons from the Grand Forks experience that can inform future disaster recovery efforts.
Our two remaining features focus on homeownership—how to achieve it and preserve it, respectively. The first article is an update on the State of Minnesota's Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative, which aims to create 40,000 new homeowners from Minnesota's minority and immigrant populations by 2012. The second describes challenges that researchers from the Minneapolis Fed, Macalester College and the University of Minnesota encountered while gathering and analyzing Twin Cities foreclosure data. The article includes recommendations for making foreclosure records more useful and available to organizations engaged in foreclosure prevention efforts.