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In the News July 20 – August 3, 2022

Housing Equity:

  1. Treasury Announces New Steps to Increase Affordable Housing Supply and Lower Long-Term Housing Costs for American Families: The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced new guidance to increase the ability of state, local, and tribal governments to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to boost the supply of affordable housing in their communities.
  2. Raleigh first time home buyers priced out despite financial assistance programs: Raleigh’s Homebuyers Assistance Program would typically assist about 50 to 60 people a year before the pandemic and housing boom. So far in 2022, only five people were able to close on their homes with assistance through the program.
  3. Evictions begin to creep back up in parts of central North Carolina: As federal pandemic relief money runs out, evictions across North Carolina are again beginning to increase. While eviction rates are currently lower across a majority of the counties, some counties historically report almost double the rates elsewhere in the state.
  4. Greensboro voters approve $135 million in bond measures: $30 million in housing bonds will go toward affordable housing, making homeownership easier, and making some neighborhoods more attractive to buyers.
  5. Houses were once plentiful across the U.S. Now half of cities don’t have enough homes: More than half of the nation’s metropolitan regions had an undersupply of homes in 2019, a sharp increase from one-third of cities in the 2012. The nation is short 3.8 million homes to meet its housing needs.

Health Equity:

  1. NC Legislature Idles for Now on Medicaid Expansion Agreement: General Assembly leaders acknowledged on Tuesday that a compromise for North Carolina to finally embrace Medicaid expansion likely won’t come quickly and pinned success for a near-future agreement in part on buy-in from a key health care interest group.
  2. NC overdose deaths increased more than the national average in 2020: Drug overdose deaths surged by 30% nationally and 40% in North Carolina during the first year of the pandemic. Across the country, Black and Native American communities saw higher rates of overdose deaths and those disparities are worsening.
  3. Uterine cancer cases rising, outcomes worsening especially for Black women: Researchers at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center are investigating the why Black women die of uterine cancer at twice the rate of white women and are looking at factors of tumor biology, access to care, lifestyle, and behavior to improve outcomes and close the racial disparity gap.
  4. Vanderbilt, UNC and Duke Nurse-Midwives Join Forces to Reduce Black Maternal Health Risks: Nurse-midwives and educators from three prominent research universities form the Alliance of Black Doulas for Black Mamas to improve pregnancy outcomes in Black communities by providing specialized training for doulas.
  5. NC Health Center Aims to Reduce Mental-Health Stigma Among Latinos: Camino Health Center is spreading the word about Spanish-speaking therapists and counselors available to residents in the Charlotte area, addressing the stigma and lack of Spanish language resources in the community.

Economic Development:

  1. Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equity And Economic Opportunity Through Federal Procurement And State And Local Infrastructure Contracting: Administration Announces Record Contract Spending on Small Disadvantaged Businesses and New Steps to Create Contracting Opportunities for Disadvantaged Businesses through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
  2. U.S. Senate passes bipartisan bill to boost Cybersecurity Job Training at HBCUs: The Cybersecurity Opportunity Act requires that 50% of grant funds must go to HBCU’s, tribal, and minority serving institutions in order to support greater diversity and equality of opportunity in the cybersecurity field.
  3. Lenovo and Panthers partner to support NC small businesses: Lenovo and the Carolina Panthers have announced the return of the Empowering the Carolinas contest to celebrate and uplift small businesses – especially those that are women and minority-owned – across North America through grant and product donations, mentorship, and community engagement activities.
  4. US sees union boom despite big companies’ aggressive opposition: Wins for Amazon and Starbucks workers shows labor movement surging after years of decline – but pushback has been fierce, and has come amid allegations of union-busting.
  5. UNC Charlotte alum paving the way for diverse developers: Jane Wu, founder of Panorama Holdings LLC, has donated $50,000 to UNC Charlotte to fund a scholarship for students from under represented backgrounds studying commercial real estate.

Educational Equity:

  1. NC legislative proposal would dramatically overhaul how North Carolina governs its public schools: GOP sponsors push for an elected state school board, but Democrats warn against further politicizing public education.
  2. 144 organizations sign onto brief asking Supreme Court to order compliance with school funding plan: Attorneys filed an amicus with the North Carolina Supreme Court this week in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit contending the state has consistently failed to provide every child in North Carolina with access to the educational opportunities to which they are constitutionally entitled under the previous ruling.
  3. New report delves into state of early childhood education in Western NC: Early childhood education opportunities and challenges across the state’s 18 westernmost counties have decreased since 2019 and put a cost burden on families, leaving many to enroll in lower-quality programs.
  4. Half of NC’s community colleges not within walkable transit: In North Carolina, more than 500,000 people attend community colleges annually. Without consistent and easily accessible transit options students that lack access to a car could be discouraged from seeking higher education — a significant driver of economic mobility in the state.
  5. NCAE opposes plan to pay NC teachers based on performance instead of their experience: A state commission is working on a new licensure and compensation model that would pay teachers based on their ratings on student test scores.
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Workforce Needs Analysis – Guilford Jobs 2030 Initiative

The focus of Guilford Jobs 2030 (GC30) is to increase the percentage of the county’s population with post-secondary credentials from its current rate of 46% to 60% by the year 2030. The intent of these efforts is to improve workforce readiness, promote more equity in income, and to increase economic opportunity for all in Guilford County. To accomplish this goal, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro (CFGG) is working closely with Guilford County, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, Guilford County Schools, Guilford Technical Community College, Greensboro Housing Authority and Guilford Works, amongst many others. Key in this work is to develop a system of providers that meet the needs of the industry via education and training while assisting participants with barriers to success such as housing and transportation.

In 2020-2021, Dr. Stephen Sills, Vice President of the Research, Policy, and Impact Center (RPIC) at the National Institute of Minority Economic Development conducted an in-depth study of workforce needs in Guilford County including surveys of low- and moderate-income workers and their employers. This report includes data collected in the 2020-2021 study, as well as further information from primary and secondary sources of importance to the Guilford Jobs 2030 Initiative. The research findings presented in this report will be used to develop a better understanding of workforce needs for the GJ30 initiatives and to provide data needed for strategic planning in the implementation phase of the project.

“The Guilford Jobs 2030 workforce will not only provide training and education for nearly 30,000 individuals over the next ten years, we’ll build a workforce that can change the economy of the county for all.”

David Bolton, Director Workforce Initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, Inc.

Read the full report at: https://tinyurl.com/CJ30Report

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FHHP RELEASES NEW STUDY THAT EXAMINES SOCIAL DRIVERS OF HEALTH IN HIGH POINT

The Foundation for a Healthy High Point has released a new study highlighting summary data on health and economic disparities. The study shares new recommendations to help alleviate social and financial hardship issues across the Greater High Point community.

A new report compiled by the UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies and the National Institute of Minority Economic Development’s The Research, Policy and Impact Center goes beyond health and medical needs to identify the specific socioeconomic conditions which continue to impact residents across the Foundation’s service area negatively.

The report underscores that in some High Point neighborhoods, resource inequality and structural impediments are directly linked to poor community health outcomes such as chronic lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease; respiratory issues like asthma and COPD; and poor self-reported mental health.

Dr. Stephen J. Sills, who led the research, states, “I found many citizen groups, nonprofit organizations, and other agencies committed to making the city a better and healthier place to live. It is well recognized that High Point’s diversity is its strength and that there has been recent momentum in economic development and growth, affording more resources and assets to the community. However, it will take the efforts of all sectors to fully address the social drivers of health in High Point.

Using community surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews, participating residents shared their personal experiences, including positive attributes and barriers to accessing key needs, like healthcare, transportation, and food. Using this approach, the findings offer a fresh look at our community’s needs, capturing how community members live, work, engage, and access services on a day-to-day basis and outlining the opportunities for our medical and nonprofit entities, municipalities, funders, and other agencies to work together to improve our overall community health.

“It is eye-opening to hear firsthand stories of continued disparities from community members,” states Curtis Holloman, executive director of the Foundation. “These neighborhood-based feedback sessions provided details around the upstream issues causing the downstream problems, yet this information offers great hope. As funders, service providers, employers, and neighbors, we know precisely where we need to work harder to create a community where all can thrive.”

The findings from this study serve as another source for our community partners and other stakeholders to use as a reference and will help to prioritize the Foundation’s community investments going forward.

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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.
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Wage & Salary Disparities

The Research, Policy, & Impact Center polled constituents to better understand wage and salary disparities and the barriers experienced by minority workers. Minority respondents were nearly three times as likely to be earning less this year and twice as likely to experience changes in job status in the last year. And, minority workers more likely to experience barriers limiting their ability to work. Respondents are looking to the government to offer free community college options , raise minimum wage, provide universal preschool, and close racial and gender pay gaps.

See results to the poll in the infographic below.

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Impact of Inflation on Families & MWBEs

The Research, Policy, & Impact Center polled constituents to better understand how inflation is impacting them. Disparities are clear as 72% of minority respondents indicated that their families are experiencing moderate to severe economic hardship as compared with only 52% of white respondents. Respondents are looking to the federal government to forgive student loan debt, raise minimum wage, institute price controls on fuel and other goods, and expand economic assistance programs.

See results to the poll in the infographic below.

Minority and Women Owned Enterprises indicated that inflation has impacted their ability to make a profit:

  • Imported products and shipping costs have increased. NC HUB Certified Business Expansion plans have been slow.
  • The cost of fuel and raw materials has certainly impacted project costs and internal operational expenses.
  • We’re experiencing delays and loss of customers because they can no longer afford the extra expense.
  • We have cash flow issues as staffing costs are much higher than before.
  • We are making less profit to accommodate costs.
  • We are basically paying to work. With the increase of all mentioned above & the past mentioned. Due to the issues at hand, I fear that there is definitely going to be a domino effect. The worst is yet to come.
  • Very little.  I am consultant and sole proprietor working from home.
  • Unable to operate at a full profit.
  • The surge in fuel pricing for diesel is high in NC alone it’s at almost $6 per gallon,. driving trucks places us back into a pandemic, because over the road is the only way you can make money to survive, and other states are higher. While everyone else is slowly recovering from the pandemic, the transportation Industry and the restaurant industry  is about to experience another pandemic, due to the inflation of fuel to deliver the goods and the influx in food prices that restaurants and grocery stores have to raise because they are being charged more and need to be able to pay their bills to keep a business
  • The costs of supplies, fuel, and employees has increased, decreasing my profit significantly.
  • The cost in fuel has directly impacted my services because I have to travel back and forth to client sites. I am not able to take in as many clients without having to pass some of the travel cost to a client to off-set it. I also have to go up on the price of my services due to rise in goods and materials that I use to complete the services provided to the client.
  • Supplies are more expensive and transport to and from events is higher
  • Significantly.  Which has caused a price increase in my products and offering less options, due to increase in product supplies
  • Significantly.  I own a Trucking Business and the Fuel prices have caused me to take lesser paying loads for shorter distances.
  • Shipping cost is higher.
  • Severely
  • Seriously contemplating whether or not this will be the last year of business and if its time to close our doors. Still recovering from the effects of COVID on a small business with inflation and cost on the rise is what will cripple us.
  • Purchasing materials is more expensive. I have switched to consulting more.
  • Not directly because we work from home and do data analytics – no inventory and very low overhead costs except for travel.
  • My photography business been wiped out by COVID protocols.
  • my business is home-based, and I also work a full-time job.   My business supports small business owners and non-profit organizations so I have seen a reduction in business because they cannot afford my services, and many have reduced their businesses.
  • Most of what I do is remote. My business cost has remained the same.  The financial hit is more on a personal level. I know I have to generate more business to plan for any potential losses in the future and take as much work as possible.  I have expanded my workday and work weekends in order to try to adapt to the economic changes and the potential of losing clients.
  • More meetings are held via Zoom or Facetime
  • Man-made electromagnetic fields (as mentioned in my previous statement in this survey) is what is destroying my business and life. I am about to join a two-hour support group for folks suffering from this right now, that is hosted by the Electrosensitive Society of Canada. But yes…lower income with these higher costs in general – along with the EMF take over – have become a disaster for me.
  • Lower profit
  • Losing customers, expenses are high so making less money
  • Less traveling for business development and networking opportunities. Fewer company-sponsored meals for the team. Searching for opportunities for efficiencies in services.
  • Less money for business
  • I’ve stopped the delivery service
  • It’s hard to see a profit and when we increase prices to keep up with inflation we loose customers
  • It’s caused us to maintain our business with our personal income.  It’s draining us but we are prayerful
  • It would be extremely detrimental if we did not have a healthy cash reserve. Some increases we’re able to pass on to clients. most of our biz expenses have remained stable, and others we’ve absorbed since there haven’t been too many to where it’s unbearable
  • It slowed down my business because people can’t afford my services and I’m mobile
  • It has impacted my business negatively. I have to pass any increases on to my customers which isn’t sitting well with them. I have to increase my pricing on bid projects to cover gas/travel and increased per diem for out of town overnight stays, not to mention the increase in costs of equipment from manufacturers. Lastly, supply chain issues have me waiting months to get equipment and in some cases up to a year. I can’t close out jobs or increase revenue if I can’t get equipment!
  • It has impacted it tremendously especially the gas prices
  • It has effect my business tremendously because we travel to clean medical facilities. The gas is extremely high. So I try to give the staff a little extra for gas. Which in terms it is costing me more to run the business. Money that I don’t have. I had to apply for a line of credit to really make ends meet.
  • Increased operational expenses all the way around
  • Income is not rising to meet the rising cost of expenses this is lowering my disposable income tremendously
  • I’m definitely being impacted the gas to meet clients, the food expense if I’m meeting at a restaurant. The amount for supplies increased.
  • I’m a personal trainer so for most people my services are not a necessity. People are spending more on just surviving, and they don’t seek out my services.
  • I spend over 2500 a week in fuel to run  my business which is extremely costly
  • I provide professional services (consulting), so I haven’t noticed much of an impact. I cannot say if less businesses are soliciting professional services though.
  • I buy less inventory and supplies, and at a slower rate.
  • I am at a stand still..
  • I am a mobile dog groomer so higher gas prices have really set me back.
  • Huge impact and funding has been disappointing
  • Higher shipping cost
  • Harder for employees
  • Greatly! I have nearly doubled prices due to the costs of food, gas, materials and employee costs.
  • Goods and services have increased drastically not just due to inflation but the increase was seen due to COVID.  The cost of dental supplies sky-rocketed and the wages of employees increase drastically as well.
  • Gas has taken away all of the profits for my hauling company. Making it difficult to operate and pay adequate wages.
  • Gas has been a big impact, since we have to drive our child to school.  Supply chain delays have impacted car and house repairs.
  • Fuel cost often are half if not more than the days earnings which doesn’t leave much for saving or pay incentives for employees. Maintenance cost have went up and the quality has gone down.
  • Fuel and supplies have gone up dramatically.
  • Everything costs much more
  • Despite the COVID numbers dropping, we still network via online meeting apps. This is not optimal but gas is too expensive to drive around for onsite networking. I am also more reluctant to outsource functions that can be done in-house (though with a lot of effort) because the cost of services has increased along with everything else.
  • COVID had my business shut down for a year.  The rent for the commercial space has increased twice and not it is at the point I can not afford to keep my doors open after 30 years being in business.  It is so overwhelming just to keep the lights on and now higher rent – it is too much.  Lay offs and now closings
  • As mentioned, before I feel that I am all over the place trying to stay above water living check to check.  We started a transportation business to help us get ahead, but it is taxing us we are spending almost 3K to 4K a month depending on the situation with just 1 vehicle this is unheard of.  This does not include maintenance fees for the vehicle wear and tear and upkeep required just this past month we spent $3500.  We thought starting this during COVID will allow us to save towards purchasing a home, but at the same time our rent has increase $200 more than what we initially signed up for not including the other maintenance fees.  We feel trapped paying almost $1800 a month in a 2-bedroom apartment. Always having to make payment arrangements it’s nuts.  We have no healthy live, work, play, learn, eat balance at all.
  • As a trucking company sky rocketing fuel prices has impacted the companies overall profitability
  • About 10k more a month
  • Increased prices for inventory.
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Current & Proposed Efforts for Improving African American Homeownership

Rather than narrowing, the gap in homeownership rates by race has grown steadily over the last century. In 1900, the gap between white and Black homeownership was 27.6%, that gap has not improved in the last 121 years with U.S. Census Bureau data from April 2021 showing a 29.6% difference between white and Black homeowners. The difference in median wealth has been attributable almost entirely to homeownership and the passing of resources through inheritance. Shapiro (2006) explains that homeownership acts as a vehicle for savings and for growing capital over the life course: “Homeownership and housing appreciation are the foundation of institutional accumulation. Indeed, for most Americans, home equity represents the largest reservoir of wealth: home wealth accounts for 60% of the total wealth among America’s middle class.”

The Research, Policy, and Impact Center hosted a colloquium on the topic of increasing Black homeownership moderated by Dr. Stephen Sills. Our guest speakers included:

  • Sofia Crisp, Executive Director, Housing Consultants Group.
  • Jung Hyun Choi, Senior Research Associate, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute.
  • Lauren Lowery, Director, Housing & Community Development, National League of Cities.
  • Joshua Devine, Director of Racial Economic Equity, National Community Reinvestment Coalition.
  • Michael Wallace, Vice President, Business Account Management Solutions, Fannie Mae.
  • Sam Gunter, Executive Director, NC Housing Coalition.

Please watch the recording of this discussion at:

Additional materials:

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In the News

6.2.2022

Housing Equity

  1. A Memorial Day look at our veteran population (and a predatory lending practice that often targets its members): a new report from the National Consumer Law Center and other consumer advocacy groups makes clear, there are some very important ways in which current federal law allows veterans not just to be dishonored, but affirmatively targeted for exploitation.
  2. Vacant homes are rare in Triangle, across NC – and most are owned by investors: Some 1.1% of the nearly 3,490,000 residential properties in the state are vacant.  That’s 34,999 homes.  And the data set indicates that 30,802 of those homes are investor-owned.
  3. N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency to award additional $16 million in grants for eastern North Carolina public housing recovery: The economic support aims to increase the availability of safe, affordable housing in areas of the state that experienced unprecedented damage when hurricanes Matthew and Florence hit only two years apart. The funding announced today is in addition to more than $9.6 million NCORR previously committed to public housing projects in Wilson and Lumberton.
  4. How and why some districts provide affordable housing for teachers: “Housing is such a huge component, such a costly component for our employees to live here,” said Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools Tony Baldwin. The teacher housing is “a wonderful resource for us to have, especially bringing that quality young professional into our school systems.”
  5. Residential rent rate hikes concern Greensboro tenants, organizations trying to help: In March, the property management company notified Browne and other residents of British Lake Village apartments that monthly rent would rise June 1 from between $475 and $600 to $1,030.

Health Equity

  1. Republican-led Senate in NC gives preliminary approval to Medicaid expansion after years of fighting it:  Medicaid expansion would be good for the economy and rural health care. Up to 600,000 people who don’t now receive preventative care would be able to get it.
  2. Racism, Violence, COVID-19, and Public Health: COVID-19 and violence merge to form a syndemic that affects Black communities. High levels of stress and trauma may affect people’s ability to reduce their risk of COVID-19.
  3. Health care utilization improvements in urban minority youth tied to better asthma control: Researchers observed significant decreases for all outcomes from before and after the COVID-19 shutdown, with an average decrease of 76% for hospitalization rates, 69% for ED visits and 8% for oral steroid use. These decreases were associated with asthma control improvement.
  4. Inaccurate pulse ox readings may have delayed, prevented care among minority COVID-19 patients: Pulse oximeter measurements are less accurate among Black, Hispanic and Asian COVID-19 patients compared to white patients. These inaccuracies may have led to minority patients receiving delayed or no treatment, according to a study published May 31 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
  5. How U.S. Employers Can Support Women’s Health: Employers can take action today to combat these challenges. Investment in women’s health results in a healthier population overall. Companies that offer comprehensive support for women’s health have higher productivity, better retention of female employees, and most importantly, they help improve health outcomes for women.

Economic Development

  1. Rev. William Barber leads protest against Dollar General over treatment of workers at shareholders meeting: On Wednesday, labor advocacy groups, community leaders and Dollar General employees from several states—including North Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi— met to protest the poor conditions many employees say they face while receiving less than livable wages. They were joined by Odessa Kelly, a candidate for U.S. Congress, and the Rev. William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.
  2. SBA announces five new Women’s Business Centers: The SBA recently announced the selection of five new Women’s Business Centers (WBC), which will be operated by Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). This includes the National Institute of Minority Economic Development, Inc. on behalf of Bennett College.
  3. US Bancorp : U.S. Bank unveils new roles to develop minority-owned businesses: Currently a pilot program, U.S. Bank Access Business is a collaborative approach between U.S. Bank business banking teams and partners in communities across the country to work alongside minority-owned businesses to address prominent gaps that limit business growth and employment opportunities. A signature component of Access Business is well underway with the hiring of nine new Business Access Advisors (BAA) who are strategically located across the country.
  4. Minority Business Pandemic Recovery Academy Launched: The Minority Business Pandemic Recovery Academy is a transformational six week executive education program in partnership with The University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC).  This Academy will assist minority business CEOs with techniques to use in fortifying and navigating their businesses in a post-pandemic economy. 
  5. Building Transportation Equity in the Car-Centric South: On the Road Lending provides credit assistance; access to fuel-efficient, reliable cars; and low-interest loans. At least 88% of their clients are considered vulnerable, 80% of loans are made to women, and over half are escaping gender-based violence. The nonprofit has its own CDFI loan fund, called OTR Fund I, LLC, to serve its clients. The program uses character-based lending instead of credit scores to evaluate risk and provide advising.

Educational & Equity

  1. “Parents’ Bill of Rights” passes N.C. Senate: In addition to barring inclusion of gender identity and sexual orientation in K-3 curricula, the bill would require that parents be notified if their child changes pronouns or name at school.
  2. New Hunt Higher Ed Issue Brief: Advancing Equity Through the Use of Disaggregated Data: Disaggregated student data allows institutions to see where specific inequalities exist more clearly, the magnitude of those inequalities, and a baseline against which to measure any initiatives. 
  3. Fostering Equity Between Race, Disability: Graduate student Baiyina Muhammad is involved in a delicate balancing act these days. With a full course load and work as a history professor at a nearby university, she’s juggling multiple responsibilities. As founder of the North Carolina Black Disabilities Network, she also recently organized its inaugural conference on race and disabilities, making her life, at times, more than a little hectic.
  4. New Report Shows College Degree Continues To Provide Better Employment Prospects And Higher Income: The latest report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on the status of education in the United States shows that individuals with a college degree continue to enjoy both better employment prospects and greater annual earnings than those with lesser levels of education.
  5. HBCUs, Industry Partners Launch Initiative To Diversify And Strengthen Cybersecurity Workforce: Together with industry partners Abbott, Microsoft and Raytheon Technologies, the HBCU Cybersecurity Industry Collaboration Initiative Pilot aims to build curriculum capacity within HBCU engineering schools, positioning them as premier national academic institutions for cybersecurity, while creating a strong workforce of students well-prepared for the world’s essential cybersecurity careers. The initiative expects to support HBCUs through curriculum development, research collaboration, faculty support and other resources.
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Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Poll

The Biden Administration has proposed to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt. The current proposal is that student loan forgiveness will be available to individual borrowers who earn up to $150,000 in annual income, or married couples who file jointly and earn up to $300,000.

The Research, Policy, & Impact Center polled constituents to better understand how student loan forgiveness would impact them. Minority borrowers would see greater relief as their debt-to-income ratio is higher than white borrowers. See results to the poll in the infographic below.

Comments from Respondents:

  • All Americans should have access to a quality education that’s free. Educated working people help to build a strong community. It can help with reducing crime. An educated country is a successful one.
  • Anyone working in a public service for over 5 years should be forgiven regardless how many payment made
  • Anything that they take off would be appreciated
  • As a single mother, going back to school was imperative. The government should develop other low cost programs to assist people with obtaining their education.
  • As with universal healthcare and gun control, this country seems resolute to not learn anything from the best practices of others in the area of affordable higher education. It makes no sense in an advanced economy to make k-12 education free and then do nothing for higher education despite the fact that a college degree is a necessity for many jobs and that many of those jobs are a necessity for the quality of life in our country.
  • College should be free.
  • Education loans are easy to get but cause hardship to repay due to low wages.
  • Erase all debt for student loan borrowers
  • Every African American should have all student loans forgiven and no future African American should have to pay for college ever as part of reparations for the continued negative impact of slavery, school to prison pipeline, housing disparities and inequities we experience.
  • Forgiving student loan debt would alleviate a tremendous burden on a significant number of US citizens, especially those earning low-wages and those in the shrinking middle class. The additional money available to families will boost the economy by creating greater spending power. Moreover, student loan forgiveness would remove negative items on thousands of credit reports, which would allow families to qualify for better housing and employment. Additionally, forgiving student loans would be a positive step in restoring the middle class. Last, but not least, forgiving student loans for African American and indigenous/first nations people could qualify as a concrete step toward reparations for the crimes of genocide, enslavement, oppression, and exploitation by the US government and other white agencies/companies.
  • I am a strong supporter of forgiveness of at least a portion of a student’s loan.
  • I appreciate and could use loan forgiveness. Would make a major difference in my life.
  • I do not think fees for a college degree should exceed what the workforce can pay to the average American. The monthly payments exceed the amount the average person can actually pay back and have us living in a state of lower actual wages where can barely afford to live comfortably.
  • I do not think there should be loan forgiveness – tuition should be restructured
  • I feel the income limit of $150,000 is fair. I also believe that every year of military service should be counted as 2 years towards forgiveness of student loans for public service. People in the military sacrifice so much more than most civilians to ensure this country’s freedoms.
  • I grew up poor and my education (Duke undergraduate) changed the course of my future. I do well now, at the age of thirty six, but my loans have been an extraordinary burden and have caused me to make some really tough choices about my career and life that I wish weren’t necessary, and which many of my friends didn’t face. I hear discussion of people with high incomes or “privileged” degrees as being less deserving of sympathy, but I remember eating lentils five days a week for a couple years trying to figure out how to pay these loans right out of school, and therefore strongly support relief!
  • I started out with around $30 to 40K… now I owe $61,000 and the payments are over $400/mo for 30 years. It is the only thing pulling my score down every month even though I am paying other bills on time. I am currently paying the interest every month until I can afford to pay it off.
  • I think student loan forgiveness is essential for most, if not all, borrowers. Having large student loan debt prevents me and others from participating in the market like other generations. At this time, with my loans, I don’t see myself having the same milestones like my parents. Student loan forgiveness of any kind would mean that I can have a brighter outlook on my future.
  • I think student loan forgiveness should consider current income, whether or not you have a public service related occupation and debit related to highest level of education.
  • I think that teachers should have all their debt forgiven.
  • I think this is important as we see so many schools offering free tuition and other subsidies that weren’t available in the past. As a Black person I feel all student debt being forgiven should be part of a reparation package
  • I was lied to by my schools as to how much I could make. I never did get a high enough paying job to support myself or my kids as a single mom.
  • In addition to loan forgiveness amount the Biden administration should halt interest accrual to allow folks to repay this debt.
  • It cripples individuals and couples before they can even get started in their careers and future planning and affects minorities and first generation college students disproportionately.
  • It shouldn’t take longer than 10 years for anyone to pay off student loans. They should be treated with the same stipulations as car loans. We are paying decades worth of interest and that is not right.
  • It’s shameful that in such a rich country, people have to go into deep debt to get an education.
  • Please do something, anything. So many of us are stressed and anxious just thinking about repayment. Cost of living is high enough as it is.
  • School should be free, the amount of student debt is ridiculous.
  • Something really has to change about the way state universities are funded. Student loan debt is linked to that issue, and so are low stipends/pay for grad workers and the increasing reliance on adjuncts/non-tenure track faculty who rely on semester-long contracts. Debt exacerbates worker’s vulnerability and it has to stop.
  • Student loan forgiveness is necessary to help stimulate the US economy.
  • Student loan forgiveness would actually better our economy. We have an entire generation that overpaid for a bachelor’s degree with the promise that one day we would make enough money to pay off these debts. However, the majority of us have not lived in a time where there were never jobs available that would pay enough to pay off, or even make the monthly payments to our student loan. Therefore, my generation decided our only option was to go to graduate school, which means taking out additional student loans. However, now we have an entire generation that is over educated, and there are not enough jobs offering the salary that use to be available for an individual with graduate level degree education. The job market has responded by now making the requirements for entry level jobs more difficult, while never raising the salary.
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In The News 5.20.2022

Housing Equity

  1. New program seeks to build ranks of minority and female developers: The program, called the Emerging Developers Accelerator Program, will provide education and funding for the developers in the hopes that they will provide more housing.
  2. Builders, Lenders Praise Biden Plan To Improve Housing Supply: Administration said plan is intended to “ease the burden of housing costs over time by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community.”
  3. Reducing Disparity in the Minority Homeownership Rate: Not only do Black Americans have significantly lower homeownership rates, compared with White Americans, NAR’s research shows that Black Americans are nearly twice as likely to be rejected for a mortgage.
  4. Decrease in home sales predicted nationwide but NC housing experts say market remains hot: Zillow predicted home sales will be down 6.4% in 2022 compared to 2021. The report cited “spiking mortgage rates, inventory gains, and lower-than-expected pending home sales and mortgage applications” as contributing factors to the predicted outlook.
  5. Multidimensional Discrimination in the Online Rental Housing Market: Implications for Families With Young Children: Consistent with prior work, we find discrimination against Black women and Section 8 recipients. We also find that only Black women and Latinas are penalized for being parents and for being single mothers to young children.

Health Equity

  1. Tackling disparities and stigma around obesity and mental health care for minority populations: Physician and mother of four Tiffani Bell Washington, MPH ’22, was recently honored by the National Minority Quality Forum as one of its “40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health.”
  2. ‘I Could Have Full-Blown Cancer Right Now’ — a Former Health Educator Urges the Black Community to Get Screened for Colon Cancer: Gloria Riley, 56, has always known the importance of cancer screenings for early detection. But that didn’t stop her from putting off her own colonoscopy for years.
  3. FDA takes steps towards diversity in clinical trials: Given the increasing diversity of the US population, diverse trial participation has become even more critical. However, several challenges hinder adequate enrollment of underrepresented populations.
  4. Report shows increased rates of infant mortality and youth suicide in North Carolina: In its May 2022 annual report, the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force reported data about child deaths in the state and made recommendations for legislative changes to prevent child death, abuse and neglect. It showed significant data about infant mortality, youth deaths due to firearms and adolescent suicide.
  5. Racial disparities in mental health care: An explainer and research roundup: Little has changed since the office of the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report on mental health disparities two decades ago. Persisting structural racism is one of the key drivers of disparities but experts and advocates are hopeful for change.

Economic Development

  1. Grant for Black-owned platforms facilitates new coworking space for small businesses: The Factory, powered by Black Dollar Corp, is a designated space for entrepreneurs and creators to work and design. The open-concept design has equipment to make everything from a logo on a coffee mug, to machinery for creating beauty products.
  2. DOE Announces $53 Million for Small Businesses Pursuing Clean Energy and Climate Solutions: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $53 million in funding awards for diverse small businesses to pursue advanced scientific instrumentation and technologies to address climate change.
  3. Small NC towns create social districts to increase nightlife, tourism: It’s not just the cities, but small towns in North Carolina are big on the idea of social districts – special areas where visitors can grab an adult drink and stroll the streets.
  4. The Black Business Olympics hosting over 100 speakers live! Black Business Expo USA is back with new topics and speakers for its celebrated Black Business Olympics, a seven-day 24-hour virtual event dedicated to black founders, entrepreneurs, business owners, organizations, and corporations. May 16-22, 2022.
  5. Minorities Seek More Financial Education for Underrepresented Groups: New research findings show that a majority of Black and white Americans believe that financial literacy is a problem in the U.S., but the two populations differ on what they think should be done to solve that problem.

Education & Equity

  1. Why do young whites kill out of hate? Schools aren’t teaching nation’s racist past. White supremacist ideology is dangerously alive in younger generations. And the fight against teaching students about race and racism in schools is signaling to them that they don’t need to care.
  2. The state legislature’s short session starts this week. Here’s what you need to know: During the short session, the legislature has the option to revive bills that didn’t pass last year and make changes to the budget. Here’s a round up of education-related highlights.
  3. Demise of mismanaged charter school leaves some lamenting the loss: The state is closing Raleigh’s Torchlight Academy because of repeated and serious management failures, but some of its strengths and accomplishments will be lost in the process.
  4. School Absences and the Poverty Related Attainment Gap: Moderated by Donald Christie, this seminar will present research findings on the role of school absences in the poverty related attainment gap in Scotland, and the implications for policy and practice.
  5. Pilot program aims to address barriers to Pre-K expansion in Buncombe County: Buncombe County commissioners approved $3.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds for the two-year pilot program earlier this month.