How do we make sure that we rebuild the economy? By helping those who need it the most. This new report by the Center for Social Inclusion makes the case and points to solutions. Targeting stimulus and other programs based on need is a fair, effective way to support economic recovery.
Up to 35% of those with sub-prime loans could have qualified for normal, prime mortgages. Black and Latino communities are over-represeted in the subprime loan pool and their communities are hardest hit — Jamaica, S. Jamaica, Hollis, St. Albans, Queens; Bushwick, Brooklyn and the South Bronx have some of the highest foreclosure rates in the region. New York City gets $24.3 million under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) to buy and redevelop foreclosed properties. States can spend up to three-quarters of Neighborhood Stabilization funds in communities with incomes of 120% of Area Median Income (AMI), or about $90,000 in New York City. The NY State Housing Finance Agency and NY City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, must do better. 25% of NSP units must be made available for households earning no more than 25% of AMI (about $18,500) and an additional 25% of NSP units be made available for households earning no more than 50% of AMI (about $37,000).
For every $1 earned by a White household, Latino households earn just over 50 cents. Black households earn fewer than 60 cents. Almost 30% of Latinos and 27% of Black people work in low-paying, benefit-less service sector jobs — more than twice as likely as Whites (12%). Construction jobs pay better, but Black men and women of all races don’t get these jobs and are paid much less than White men when they do get them. For government funded construction contracts over $25,000 and non-construction contracts over $50,000:
• 30% of all new hires in each construction trade should be low-income prior to their hire;
• 25% of workforce in public housing construction projects should be residents of public housing;
• 20% of aggregate involvement in dollars should be by minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises
• The Mayor should create a technical assistance unit that supports community-based groups and union partnerships to connect people to union apprenticeship programs.
From 1990 to 2000, the number of small businesses owned by immigrants grew by 54% while native-born owned businesses shrank by 7%. Yet these new majority-owned businesses receive only 2% of all private equity and 3% of all small business investment dollars nationally. We should make investments a priority and create incentive programs to help small, locally owned businesses in low opportunity communities.
Between 1935 and 2000, the region added 1,600 miles of highway. But New York City grew by over one million new residents and removed more subway track than it added. New York State will receive $1.25 billion in funding for mass transit and $1.1 billion for highways and bridges. The State and the MTA should commit funds to the mis-named Second Avenue Subway line because it will connect currently-low-opportunity and transit-starved neighborhoods, like East Harlem and the Lower East Side, to more job centers. The State should approve and the MTA should invest in Bus Rapid Transit to connect people in low opportunity areas to high opportunity areas. At about $50 million per Bus Rapid Transit line, $500 million could pay for 10 new Bus Rapid Transit lines, like the 1st and 2nd Avenue Select Bus Service, which would connect low-opportunity Upper Manhattan to job-rich Midtown and Lower Manhattan, for those who need them.
In addition to the $4.8 billion New York State will be receiving for education funding, $11 billion nationally will be available each year in 2009 and 2010 for tax credit bonds for school construction, rehabilitation, repair, or land acquisition for new schools. New York State and City officials must be poised to receive these funds and target them to low opportunity communities by making a priority new school construction in communities with large population growth.