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In the News 7.20.2022

Housing Equity:

  1. New Policy Protects People with Vouchers Seeking City-Supported Housing: The Charlotte City Council on Monday voted to adopt a new city policy that protects prospective tenants in City of Charlotte-supported housing developments from being disqualified from renting a unit because they participate in a rental subsidy program.
  2. Residents urge High Point city council members to rethink vote against fair housing: Residents in the city of High Point are urging city council members to rethink their vote against becoming a fair housing assistance program in May which would provide freedom from housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or ability.
  3. Congress Finds Private Equity Kept Buying Homes, Hiking Fees Over Pandemic: A survey by the house financial services committee found private equity homeownership has been growing in low-income neighborhoods where companies have increased tenants fees 40% between 2018 and 2022.
  4. HUD Announces 24 Programs to Join Biden-Harris Administration Justice40 Initiative: The programs included in today’s announcement create affordable and sustainable housing and meet a range of different housing needs for individuals and communities, including single- and multi-family housing and housing for seniors, persons with disabilities, and tribal communities.
  5. New NC funding will help expand affordable housing for those with specific needs: The North Carolina State Housing Finance Agency has approved $4.3 million in funding for properties geared toward those with special housing needs, including military veterans, children aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities who fall below 50 percent of the area median income.
  6. Housing Connections Initiative working to combat affordable home crisis: The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness has helped house more than 2,300 people by providing financial incentives and assistance to landlords willing to work with households coming out of homelessness.

Health Equity:

  1. How healthy are NC’s women, and are their needs ready to be met?: The women’s health report card from the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Women’s Health Research spotlights promising trends in preventative health and adverse trends in perinatal and chronic health. Notable racial disparities in the data suggest differences in access to health care services and screenings.
  2. UNC, N.C. A&T Team to Lead Project to Address Social Determinants of Health in Women of Color: As part of the American Heart Association’s pledge to address social determinants of health in women of color, Alison Stuebe, MD, and her team of researchers received a $2.4-million grant to develop a curriculum that cultivates trust among patients and health team members.
  3. Biden Signs Executive Order on Access to Abortion Services: Executive order directs federal agencies to take steps within their power to safeguard abortions and reproductive health services, including ensuring the availability of emergency contraceptive medications and providing legal protection for out-of-state patients and abortion providers.
  4. Blue Cross NC taps Headway to expand mental health access for underserved members and children: In its latest effort to address critical mental health needs in the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is tapping a fast-growing mental health startup to help expand its network of behavioral health providers to underserved communities including children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  5. Medicaid expansion would help people incarcerated in jails and prisons: Thousands of people currently cycling in and out of jails and prisons are among the roughly 600,000 who would get health coverage under Medicaid expansion, potentially transforming North Carolina’s justice system.
  6. NCDHHS Announces New National 9-8-8 Number for People in Mental Health Crisis: Starting Saturday, people in mental health crisis can dial 9-8-8 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and get immediately connected to trained crisis counselors 24/7.

Economic Development:

  1. Can people live on minimum wage in NC? Here’s how it compares to cost of living: With inflation affecting the cost of everything from food to gas, it’s getting harder for minimum wage employees to afford necessities. While the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25, the living wage for a single adult with no children in the state is $17.14. For single adult with one child, the living wage is nearly double.
  2. Climate Change, Extreme Temps Affect NC Black-Owned Small Businesses: In North Carolina, small Black-owned businesses say they’re struggling to cope with losses and damages from extreme weather events including floods, extreme heat, blackouts or severe storms.
  3. Equal Pay Gains Dampened as Wage Gaps Widen for Women of Color: Some incremental progress has been made in the effort to bring equal pay to women in the workplace, but data indicate women of color still face certain inequities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, widening their respective wage gaps from last year.
  4. Interest rates, price increases stand to have outsized effect on Black consumers, businesses: Black Americans — who already make less money, have a harder time securing loans for their businesses and have less financial security — stand to be hurt more than other demographic groups in this uncertain economy.
  5. CNBC Names North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2022: North Carolina ranked highly in developing and training a strong workforce due to the Longleaf Commitment Community College Grants Program and the North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants and supported businesses through the pandemic with the Business Recovery Grant Program and ReTool NC Program for women- and minority-owned businesses.
  6. Truist announces $120 million commitment to strengthening small businesses: The commitment includes $30 million in philanthropic grants to support nonprofits who assist small businesses and diverse entrepreneurs and $5 million in philanthropic grants, which will support technical assistance, small businesses and volunteerism.

Educational Equity:

  1. Budget bill sent to Cooper puts NC’s controversial school voucher program on path to dramatic expansion: If the bill becomes law, funding for the underutilized voucher program would grow from $120.54 million to $176.54 million for the 2023-2024 school year, while traditional public schools are grappling with funding challenges and staffing shortfalls.
  2. U.S. Department of Education Awards Final $198 Million of American Rescue Plan Higher Education Funds to Support Students at Community Colleges, Rural, and Minority-Serving Institutions: Of the funds awarded, almost 90 percent will go toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community colleges, rural institutions, and institutions serving large populations of low-income students. The majority of institutions are also required to distribute roughly half of all grant funds directly to students with the greatest need.
  3. Education advocate joins task force to increase teacher diversity: Monique Perry-Graves, the executive director for Teach for America North Carolina, recently joined the State’s DRIVE Task Force to recruit teachers of racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds to prioritize equity and inclusion in the educational system in North Carolina.
  4. N.C. A&T Works with Guilford County Schools to Build Community Education Center: The facility will be used to address the negative impact of COVID-19 on the district’s students, families, staff and community by providing flex spaces with tutoring, adult education and community meeting rooms for students and adults.
  5. U.S. Department of Education Announces Engage Every Student Initiative to Ensure Every Student Has Access to High-Quality Learning: The Initiative will help communities utilize American Rescue Plan funds alongside other state and local funds to allow more students to access more programs year-round to support their academic and mental health needs.
  6. NCDHHS Launches Raise NC to Highlight the Value of the State’s Early Care and Learning Network: The public education campaign highlights the value of the state’s early care and learning network to support children’s healthy development as well as families’ participation in the workforce.