Housing and Economic Mobility: Closing the Gap Between Research and Practice


Thursday, November 18, 2021, 5:30pm to 7:00pm


Nye B (Taubman Building, 5th floor)

Join the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy for a discussion of the connection between asset poverty, stable housing, and economic mobility. Stone PhD scholar Jamie Gracie will moderate a discussion featuring two speakers actively engaged in efforts to ameliorate the causes and consequences of asset poverty in Greater Boston: Sherry Riva, the founder and CEO of Compass Working Capital, and Gonzalo Puigbó, CEO of Somerville Community Corporation. This event is planned in collaboration with the James M. & Cathleen D. Stone Foundation and Conexión, and co-sponsored by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, registration and Harvard ID is required for in-person attendance. The webinar will be open to the public.

To register to attend the event in person, email inequality@harvard.edu. You must have a Harvard ID to attend in person.

To register for the webinar, click here: https://harvard.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Q8zLzeA6Tee6GIsnbtt_pQ 


About the featured speakers:

Sherry Riva is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Compass Working Capital (“Compass”), a nonprofit financial services organization with a mission to support families with low incomes to build assets and financial capabilities as a pathway to greater economic opportunity, and out of poverty. Compass’s broader vision is to promote economic mobility and financial security for families with low incomes by influencing field-related practice and policy. Under Sherry's leadership, Compass has launched and expanded an innovative asset-building model for the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program, an employment and savings program for recipients of federal housing assistance. The first model of its kind in the country, the Compass FSS program has attracted local and national attention as a scalable, housing-based model to promote economic mobility and financial security for families with low incomes. The program is now offered across eight cities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Sherry received an A.B. from Princeton University, an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Master's in Philosophy (Ecumenics) from Trinity College Dublin.

Gonzalo Puigbó is the Chief Executive Officer of Somerville Community Corporation. He brings a rare combination of corporate and community experience with an entrepreneurial and inclusive spirit and a mission to help low-income families to achieve financial independence via homeownership, workforce development, financial literacy, education, community organizing and leadership initiatives. He has taught over 500+ homebuyer education seminars and over 100+ financial education classes with the hope of giving low-income households and working families a chance for financial independence. He has eagerly volunteered as a leader with many non-profit organizations and was Chair of the Board of Directors at Compass Working Capital and is the current Board Member at the Massachusetts Community & Banking Council as well as Amplify Latinx, an organization dedicated with advancing Latinos into leadership positions in corporate, government and small business enterprises. Gonzalo received his Bachelor of Science and MBA from Framingham State University. In 2012, his alma mater presented him with the Alumni Achievement Award for his outstanding work in our local communities.

Jamie Gracie is a PhD candidate in Economics at Harvard University. Her research interests are in labor economics, public finance, and econometrics. Within these fields, she is primarily interested in the causes and consequences of economic inequality as well as the role of schools in increasing social mobility. Originally from Long Beach, California, Jamie graduated with a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from Amherst College. Before beginning her PhD, she was a pre-doctoral fellow at Opportunity Insights working on research related to economic opportunity and social mobility. Her work is supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and the Stone PhD Scholarship in Inequality and Wealth Concentration.