Alongside a number of far-reaching problems, the widespread lack of affordable housing is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting layoffs and job losses – and it’s devastating color communities.
Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, hopes a “comprehensive housing strategy” is high on the agenda as the Biden administration takes hold and tries to address a variety of bothersome problems.
Like most of the other issues the new administration is addressing, Morial said a widespread lack of affordable housing is compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting layoffs and job losses.
“Housing affordability is a real concern for many Americans,” Morial said. “Too many black and brown Americans pay 50 percent of their takeaway salary for housing.”
Morial said he was encouraged by Biden’s appointment of Marcia Fudge as the new Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Prior to his eight-time election to the 11th Congressional District of Ohio, Fudge was the first black and female mayor of Warrensville Heights. Fudge also served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
“This leadership background provides (fudge) a standpoint on issues of economic justice and poverty. She understands that a comprehensive housing strategy must take into account quality of life, jobs and economic development, ”said Morial.
Morial also noted that outgoing HUD secretary Dr. While Ben Carson was a highly respected neurosurgeon, his medical background would have been better suited to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). or the National Institutes of Health.
“In my opinion, President Trump did a disservice to Dr. Carson by placing him in a position that his background did not adequately prepare him for,” Morial said.
Morial confirmed that he strongly supports the current COVID Relief Act and parts of that legislation that aim to freeze evictions and foreclosures, while providing $ 25 billion in housing rescue funds and an additional $ 400 million in housing advice to help To help struggling homeowners negotiate better with mortgage holders.
“The COVID Relief Act will not resolve this crisis, but it will help cushion the shock,” he said.
Morial’s views on the housing crisis and how devastating the color communities are were shared by William T. McDaniel III, President and CEO of the Urban League of Central Carolinas.
McDaniel, based in Charlotte, described the situation in Queen City as a “triple pandemic,” noting the simultaneous negative effects of COVID-19, the economic downturn and the ongoing pursuit of racial justice.
“The Charlotte economy is largely dependent on the retail, hotel and restaurant industries,” said McDaniel. “They’re all hurt because hotels have been closed for months, thousands of people are working from home, and business trips are only just returning.”
Retail and hospitality are not high-wage industries, McDaniel noted. As a result, many workers find it difficult to pay $ 1,300 or $ 1,400 a month in rental costs for a typical one or two bedroom apartment.
Like Morial, McDaniel said these rents force people to pay 50 percent or more of their income for housing, while it is better to limit those expenses to 30 percent of take-away salaries.
Another complication of these problems is the fact that Charlotte is expected to grow by around 600,000 residents over the next 10 years and there is already a housing shortage of around 34,000 units.
To address these issues, McDaniel works with organizations like the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership and Community Link, which focus on helping black customers gain housing stability.
“Our mission is social and economic justice,” said McDaniel. “Whether it’s buying a home or starting a business, we want our customers to reduce their debts and create wealth.”
Christopher Cox is the editor and executive editor of realesavvy.com in Surry County, North Carolina. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.