Broad Shoulders Update

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Archive for the ‘recovery’ tag

Today in Equity

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Daily equity news

Road Home program amended to assist owners of homes of modest value,” - The Times-Picayune

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan came to town carrying a letter that could help thousands of area homeowners finally finish their renovations.

The letter, which Donovan gave on Thursday to Louisiana Recovery Authority head Paul Rainwater, approved a change to the Road Home program that could distribute $600 million in leftover program money, giving up to $34,000 in extra grant money to as many as 19,000 low- to moderate-income homeowners, Rainwater said.

States eager to power up electric car-battery industry,” - USA TODAY

DETROIT — The U.S. government has made it clear that developing a domestic auto-battery industry — for advanced batteries to power next-generation electric cars — is a priority. That has states scrambling to be sure they get a piece of the action.

This week, business leaders, politicians and entrepreneurs will gather in Detroit at a conference called “The Business of Plugging In” to discuss the future of plug-in electrics and plan how to attract and develop businesses involved in plug-in vehicle development.

Public option gains support,” - Washington Post

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.

Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama’s leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration’s top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.

Written by Keith Forest

October 20th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Experts See “Uneven” Housing Recovery in Gulf Coast

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NEW ORLEANS — Nearly four years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, housing for the Gulf Coast’s most vulnerable residents remains scarce and continues to mar other significant progress made in the region so far, experts told a Congressional field hearing yesterday and today.

While community groups and local leaders have made enormous strides in rebuilding and reclaiming many neighborhoods throughout the Gulf Coast, federal and state aid programs — most notably the Road Home program — have failed to live up to their promise.

“The progress of housing recovery at the community level has been very uneven and has led to racial and social inequities,” Dominique Duval-Diop, senior associate in the PolicyLink office in New Orleans, said at Thursday’s hearing. “We may have missed the opportunity to create sustainable and resilient communities — communities that are able to initiate and invest in their own recovery and redevelopment.”

The Congressional field hearings are being conducted by Rep. Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. The hearings will continue place today at Lawless Memorial Chapel, Dillard University, 2601 Gentilly Boulevard, New Orleans.

Other experts who testified included:

  • Davida Finger of Loyola Law Clinic
  • Allison Plyer of the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center
  • Laura Tuggle of Southeast Louisiana Legal Aid
  • James Perry of Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
  • Cynthia Wiggins, a public housing resident
  • Angela Patterson of Unity of Greater New Orleans
  • Anita Sinha of the Advancement Project

The experts look at a wide range of issues, including:

  • The difficulty homeowners faced in navigating the Road Home program
  • Significant New Orleans rent increases since 2005
  • Ongoing difficulty for elderly, disabled, and low-income households who formerly lived in HUD-assisted homes that have still not been replaced
  • Fair housing violations that are prevalent post-Katrina.
  • The growth in the homeless population from 6000 to 12,000 since Katrina.

In 2007 and 2008, PolicyLink undertook major studies of the three major housing rebuilding programs: the Road Home homeowners program; the Multifamily Rental Program (funded through Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Disaster CDBG funds); and the Small Rental Repair Program.  Significant challenges remain in each of those programs.

In particular, the Road Home grant formula has had a more negative effect on those whose damage estimates were higher than their home value. Those whose damages were greater than their pre-storm home value - 47.3% of all applicants rebuilding in place - fell on average $69,000 short of the money they need to rebuild.

This was a particular problem in low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods in New Orleans. More than 60 percent of households in New Orleans East and the Lower 9th Ward have gaps over $40,000, compared to 49 percent citywide and 33 percent statewide. The average rebuilding cost gap for those communities were $65,000 and $68,000, respectively — a mammoth sum for low-income residents struggling to come home.

But insufficient government programs are far from residents’ only concerns, Duval-Diop says.

“Many recipients face insufficient rebuilding grants, contractor fraud, a high-cost environment, inability to access additional credit, and home-title succession challenges that delay or deny funding for the home repair.,” she said. “Our analysis found that the

majority of homeowners choosing to rebuild in place did not have sufficient resources to fully recover their homes.”

For more information on Gulf Coast rebuilding, please visit

Written by Dan Lavoie

August 21st, 2009 at 2:48 pm

FRIDAY: Webinar on Foreclosure tool

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During a webinar Friday, June 26, from 1 to 2:30 pm EDT (10 to 11:30 PDT), PolicyLink and Living Cities will release the Reclaiming Foreclosed Properties for Community Benefit tool, which will highlight promising strategies already underway in communities to acquire, care for, and return-to-market foreclosed properties.

The call will also feature tips and ideas for meeting the July 17th application deadline for $2 billion in additional Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars from the federal stimulus package.

RSVP for the call here

The Discussion will be moderated by Kalima Rose, Senior Director, PolicyLink Center for Infrastructure Equity

Welcome and Opening Comments

Review of Tool

Strategies in the Twin Cities

Strategies in Los Angeles

Discussion/Q & A

Written by Dan Lavoie

June 23rd, 2009 at 3:06 pm

AUDIO: The Outlook for Health and Wellness in the Recovery

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On Friday, May 22, we hosted the fourth installment of the “Demand Equity Now” recovery briefing series. The one-hour call featured a spirited and lively discussion among some of the nation’s foremost health advocates:

Full audio is available below:

The Outlook for Health and Wellness in the Recovery

[58 minutes | Download MP3]

Sign up here for the June 5th and June 19th calls, “What’s the Rural Agenda in the Economic Recovery Agenda?,” and The Green Recovery: How Communities Are Faring So Far?

You can also listen to previous calls at these links:

Written by Rafael Shimunov

May 29th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Foreclosure in Black and White

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The NY Times had a great piece over the weekend about the racial disparities in foreclosures in New York. The story was both stunning in the depth of the crisis and, at the same time. so very much expected.

What really got me, though, was checking out this map of Brooklyn (click on the photo below to go to the full interactive map page). I live right smack-dab in the middle of all those red dots in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. I can pinpoint some of the houses that those dots represent. It’s awful and troubling and maddening. Look for yourself.


Written by Dan Lavoie

May 18th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

Thousands to Protest Jindal Stimulus Rejection

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bobby JindalThousands of Louisianans are expected to descend on the state capitol May 27 to say “enough is enough” to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to reject $100 million in unemployment benefits from the stimulus package. For those hit “first and worst” by the recession, the problem got even worse today as the state legislature couldn’t muster the votes to override his decision.This is a looming disaster for folks who’ve had too much disaster in their lives already.

Want to go to the rally or get your voice heard from afar? Full release after the jump….


Written by Dan Lavoie

May 13th, 2009 at 8:55 pm

AUDIO: Talking to the Media about Equity in the Recovery

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demand-equity-now-button.JPGEarlier today, more than 200 advocates joined the “Talking with Media about Equity in the Recovery” briefing call. As the moderator, I’m pretty biased, but I thought it went great (the moderation, in particular, was sublime).

The call featured a very cool panel:

If you weren’t able to join, you can listen to the full call below.

Talking to the Media about Equity in the Recovery

[58 minutes | Download MP3]

Sign up here for the May 22 call, “The Outlook for Health and Wellness in the Recovery,” or any other future calls.

Day 101 and Beyond

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101 Days

The Obama Administration’s First 100 Days laid some vital groundwork for a more just, more vibrant, and more equitable America. But the change has only just begun.

America needs a movement to make sure all people can live in communities of opportunity - with access to quality jobs, good schools, and affordable, healthy neighborhoods. PolicyLink wants to work with you to build that movement.

What do you think Obama should focus on now that the First 100 Days are history?

Share your ideas and hopes in the comments.

An Obama Report Card

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Alongside the likes of Robert Reich, Grover Norquist and Dan Savage, PolicyLink CEO Angela Glover Blackwell took to the virtual pages of Salon to give President Obama a grade for his First 100 Days. It’s worth checking out the entire piece, but here is Angela’s take:

ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL, author and chief executive officer of PolicyLink

Economy: B+
Foreign policy/national security: A-
Overall: A-

The $787 billion stimulus package was an enormous step forward in strengthening the social safety net and building a foundation for real, sustainable economic growth in all our communities.

However, I would like to see a greater focus on communities that have been hit “first and worst” by this crisis — low-income communities and communities of color. By empowering mayors and community groups to take control of their own recovery — rather than centralizing power in the hands of governors — the recovery could truly harness the ideas, talents and innovations of all our people.

These vulnerable communities must be considered in every recovery discussion. They have, for instance, suffered disproportionately from foreclosure, disinvestment and lack of access to banking services, yet they have been totally absent from the conversations about the trillions of dollars that have flowed to the banking industry.

Though I lead a domestic policy organization, I know our national security depends on Americans feeling they have a voice in their government and other nations feeling they are being seen and heard by a fair, engaged America. Barack Obama’s commitment to listening and bringing all sides to the table has enhanced our security both here and abroad.

The Obama administration should be commended for their commitment to soliciting and pursuing smart, innovative, proven and equitable public policies. But there is still more he can do to help lead a equitable economic recovery. The White House seems ready to move this nation in a truly inclusive direction … now what they need is the full support of Congress.

What grades do you think Obama deserves for his First 100 Days? Tell us in the comments.

Did you miss these? (April 25, 2009)

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Updates on this week’s updates equity news.

 ”An Effort to Save Flint, Mich., by Shrinking It,” - The New York Times

FLINT, Mich. — Dozens of proposals have been floated over the years to slow this city’s endless decline. Now another idea is gaining support: speed it up.

Instead of waiting for houses to become abandoned and then pulling them down, local leaders are talking about demolishing entire blocks and even whole neighborhoods.

Health, education cited as poverty breaker,” - AP

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Investing up front in early education programs and health care for children would save hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the long run and help break the poverty cycle affecting millions of kids, a leading child advocate said Tuesday.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Children’s Defense Fund, said it’s one of her group’s goals to end child poverty in this country in “five or six years” and work to dismantle the so-called “cradle-to-prison pipeline” plaguing minorities and the poor.

 ”New Orleans housing project is model for recovery,” - USA TODAY

NEW ORLEANS — Wendell Pierce, an actor best known for his role at Detective William “Bunk” Moreland on HBO’s The Wire, splits a lot of his time lately between Los Angeles and his hometown of New Orleans.

Pierce wants to make sure his push to rebuild one of the city’s most flood-wrecked neighborhoods — Pontchartrain Park — succeeds. The neighborhood of 1,000 homes was slammed with up to 10 feet of floodwater in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina and has been slow to rebound. Now a grass-roots plan that partners residents with the city is about to return the neighborhood to its mid-1950s splendor, developers and residents say.