In the News

Stories from the End of the Year, and Looking Forward to 2023 

December 16, 2022  – January 6, 2023 

Housing Equity 

  1. Black homeowners pushed out of one Baltimore block show how Wall Street banks failed to lend money they had promised, a Bloomberg investigation shows: Banks promised to invest in Black communities after they were hit by the 2008-2009 financial crisis, but Bloomberg found those promises went unmet as large lenders stopped serving Black neighborhoods – widening the racial wealth gap. 
  1. Raleigh and Wake County to spend millions more to cover rising affordable housing costs: The Raleigh City Council and the Wake County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to spend an additional $2.3 million each to build the 156-unit Preserve at Gresham Lake apartment complex in northeast Raleigh. The apartments will be income-restricted and 32 units will be reserved for people who need supportive services. 
  1. 27 North Carolina Communities Receive $42.3 Million in Neighborhood Revitalization Grants: The CDBG-NR program offers non-entitlement municipalities and counties the opportunity to tailor community development projects to address the specific and most critical needs of their communities and will provide housing and public improvements for low- and moderate- income North Carolinians. 
  1. Eden Village plans more tiny homes to combat homelessness, first community opens early 2023: With two more phases planned, Wilmington’s Eden Village of tiny homes could relieve nearly 100 unsheltered people from living on the streets. 
  1. Alarm as US states pass ‘very concerning’ anti-homeless laws: Homelessness charities say wave of new bills unfairly targets people without housing as social-services funding is cut. 

Health Equity 

  1. What did you read on NC Health News in 2022?: How North Carolina will spend opioid settlement funds; new Medicaid pilot Healthy Opportunities Program to address social determinates of health holds potential but faces barriers; the state’s mental health system in crisis; and the fallout from the Dobbs decision. 
  1. In North Carolina, More People Are Training to Support Patients Through an Abortion: North Carolina groups that train doulas said they’ve seen an uptick in people wanting to become abortion doulas in the months since Roe v. Wade was overturned. 
  1. HIV advocates call plans from insurer Blue Cross NC ‘discriminatory’: They fear high out-of-pocket costs will jeopardize access to medications for HIV prevention and treatment in the state, widening disparities. 
  1. Federal settlement ensures NC Medicaid beneficiaries won’t lose coverage improperly: The settlement to a North Carolina lawsuit could provide a national roadmap for other states that have cut off Medicaid recipients without due process. 
  1. Both public and private agencies work to provide resources to support communities in the wake of climate change: A study published in 2021, suggests a possible link between exposure to the effects of climate change, pollution, and pandemics and increased mental illness. As weather events such as storms and droughts intensify, so does the need to produce more tools to protect the most vulnerable. 

Economic Opportunity 

  1. Deadline to apply for Chatham entrepreneurship program is January 31: The Central Carolina Community College Small Business Center and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Innovate Carolina have partnered on a new entrepreneurship development program that will introduce potential business owners to a proven process for starting a business. 
  1. New ‘must read’ report shines a light on women and poverty in North Carolina: North Carolina allows the stark challenges of poverty, economic inequality and low-wage work to be visited disproportionately upon women and, often, their children. And the state’s lawmakers seem untroubled by that bleak reality. 
  1. Nussbaum Center Receives $2M in Federal Funding: The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship (NCFE) received a $2,000,000 federal Community Project Funding grant for The Steelhouse Center for Urban Manufacturing and Innovation to house a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, small businesses, artisans, and entrepreneur support organizations. 
  1. Here’s what you need to know about new workplace protections for pregnant, nursing workers: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act, which go into effect in June, requires a business with 15+ employees to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers. That means a pregnant worker can’t automatically be denied additional bathroom breaks, be required to lift heavy items or be denied the opportunity to sit while working or other such accommodations. 
  1. Fayetteville invests $2.5M to go toward minority-owned businesses: Minority-owned businesses in Fayetteville will soon find help and financial assistance to grow their companies after the Fayetteville City Council last week unanimously approved contributing $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds to match a state grant that expired at the end of December.   

Educational Equity 

  1. Leandro, ‘merit pay’ for teachers, role of superintendent and state board dominate NC education debates in 2022: The state Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling and ordered the General Assembly to spend millions on a school improvement plan; a new licensing and compensation proposal backed by state education leaders would replace the state’s seniority-based teacher salary system with one that partially rewards teachers for student performance on state tests; the House Select Committee on An Education System for North Carolina’s Future shared findings and recommendations in a draft report that calls for redesigning the system the state uses to assess student achievement, increasing teacher pay, and shifting more power from the State Board of Education to the state superintendent. 
  1. Absences, grade retention still above pre-pandemic levels in NC schools: The data signal continued, though somewhat improved, struggles to educate the state’s children since the onset of the pandemic. Outcomes continue to be worse for Black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. 
  1. State education officials plan to ask for $100M for school mental health: More than 1 in 5 North Carolina students reported they seriously considered attempting suicide in the prior year, and the rates were higher for girls and gay, lesbian and bisexual students. The Department of Public Instruction is requesting $100 million in recurring funds for schools in low-income counties to hire qualified school nurses and social workers. 
  1. LEAD Girls of NC expanding to 2 Winston-Salem/Forsyth County middle schools: LEAD Girls of North Carolina, a program for at-risk preteen girls currently working in six Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Title 1 schools, will expand into two more schools in January. The curriculum includes lessons on positive self-talk, trips to local colleges, STEM activities, and meeting Black female entrepreneurs. 
  1. What is the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, and what would it do for HBCUs and community colleges in North Carolina?: The bill establishes a grant program to support long-term improvements and graduate programs at HBCUs and other Minority-Serving Institutions, like Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Predominantly Black Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities. In North Carolina, HBCUs make up 16% of four-year universities in the state, yet they enroll 45% of the state’s Black undergraduate students and have a history of being underfunded at the state and federal level. College Application Guide for HBCU Students