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A Top HBCU Honor for FAMU President

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Holding up their awards are Dr. Brian Seymour, research director of the Edward Waters Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities, and Dr. Francis Ikeokwu, chair of the EWC Department of Business Administration (Courtesy of Edward Waters College)

Holding up their awards are Dr. Brian Seymour, research director of the Edward Waters Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities, and Dr. Francis Ikeokwu, chair of the EWC Department of Business Administration (Courtesy of Edward Waters College)

Mangum, Edward Waters research director among honorees at Hampton

Special to the NNPA from the Florida Courier

Two of Florida’s Black universities were honored last week at the annual AARP HBCU Awards ceremony held at Hampton University.

Dr. Elmira Mangum, president of Florida A&M University, was named the “Female President of the Year.’’

Edward Waters College’s Department of Business Administration won “Best Business Program” and Dr. Brian Seymour, research director for the EWC Center for the Prevention of Health Disparities, was named “Best Male Faculty of the Year.

Health care study

Seymour conducted a pilot study that found major variations in allergic antibodies among the African-American populations living in Jacksonville. The results could lead to improved health care and eventually reduce the high mortality rate among Blacks with allergic disorders.

“Edward Waters College’s two 2015 HBCU Awards and the institution’s total six nominations represent the unprecedented ways our faculty, staff and students have excelled. It also demonstrates the college’s commitment to become a national leader for innovative teaching and learning to better educate the next generation oi global leaders,” said Dr. Nathaniel Glover, president of Edward Waters College (EWC), who was nominated for male president of the year.

Howard University President Wayne Frederick was named top male president.

The EWC Department of Business Administration partnered with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer a free entrepreneurship certificate program to the community in an effort to increase the number of minority business entrepreneurs. The seven-week program provided a complete overview of the business skills needed to develop a full, applicable knowledge base of the start-up and business operations process.

How finalists chosen

FAMU led all HBCUs with 14 nominations, followed by host Hampton with 10. A record 430 nominations from universities, alumni and students were submitted for the 2015 edition of the awards.

Who reviewed them

Finalists were selected based on the impact of the nominees’ achievement on institutional development, and for media coverage earned for the university by way of the nominee.

According to HBCU Digest, nominees were selected based on their “… impact and achievement in the fields of leadership, arts, athletics, research and community engagement in the previous academic year.”

The nominations were submitted and reviewed by a host of individuals close to the HBCU community including students, alumni, PR officials and journalists covering historically Black colleges and universities. Votes are counted in each category via secret ballot of 13 HBCU presidents and the Center for HBCU Media Advocacy (CHMA) board members.

HBCU Digest is billed as the “national news resource of record for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).”

Mangum on honor

The honor for Mangum follows her recent selection by U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack to serve on the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC), which is responsible for helping to shape our international agricultural trade policy.

“I accept this award on behalf of the entire FAMU community,” said Mangum at the July 10 program.

“The award represents the hard work and dedication of our staff, faculty, Board of Trustees, alumni, and supporters. Without them, I would not be here tonight receiving this award.”

Other FAMU awardees included Cecka Rose Green, who created the university’s 10 for $10 giving campaign, and three-time MEAC track and field championship-winning head coach Darlene Moore.

Advice

Buying a Home May Not Be as Out of Reach as You Think, Even in This Market

While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, as low levels of housing inventory and supply chain constraints have created an affordability squeeze for homebuyers. Mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months — from 3% in 2021 to close to 6% in 2022 — making it increasingly challenging for many Americans to purchase a home, especially for those with limited income.

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While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors
While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Here’s How You Can Achieve Homeownership

Buying a home is one of the most important purchases you will make in your lifetime. Pressure is mounting for those looking to buy right now, with home prices fluctuating and mortgage rates at their highest levels in over a decade.

While existing home sales have fallen month-over-month since the beginning of the year, prices hit a record high above $400,000 in May, according to the National Association of Realtors, as low levels of housing inventory and supply chain constraints have created an affordability squeeze for homebuyers. Mortgage rates have nearly doubled in the last six months — from 3% in 2021 to close to 6% in 2022 — making it increasingly challenging for many Americans to purchase a home, especially for those with limited income.

So, how do you know when you’re ready to buy a home? More importantly, how much home can you afford? We sat down with Denise Richardson, community home lending advisor at Chase, to answer those questions and discuss what the current state of the market means for you and your family’s home buying dreams.

Q: What are the main factors mortgage lenders look at when evaluating an application?

Richardson:

When it comes to homeownership, your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are major factors in the application process.

Your credit score is set based upon how you’ve used — or not used — credit in the past. Using credit responsibly, such as paying bills on time and having a low utilization rate will result in a higher score. Higher credit scores can help you qualify for the lowest interest rates. A score at 700 or above is generally considered good.

Additionally, lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio. This is a simple equation of how much debt you have relative to how much money you make. Borrowers with a higher debt-to-income ratio are considered more risky while a lower debt-to-income ratio may allow you to qualify for the best rates on your home loan.

Q: What are some tips for improving your credit score?

Richardson: There are a number of things you can do to improve your credit score, starting with reviewing your credit reports to understand what might be working against you. You can also pay down your revolving credit and dispute any inaccuracies.

Additionally, there are services like Chase Credit Journey to help monitor and improve your credit score. Credit Journey monitors all your accounts and alerts you to changes in your credit report that may impact your score. You’ll get an alert any time Chase sees new activity, including charges, account openings and credit inquiries. Chase will also notify you if there are changes in your credit usage, credit limits or balances. You don’t have to be a Chase customer to take advantage of Credit Journey.

Q: What are some factors that can affect the cost of a mortgage?

Richardson: There are several factors to consider when reviewing mortgage options including loan term, interest rate and loan type. Potential homebuyers should contact a home lending professional to understand and review the options available to them.

For example, there are two basic types of mortgage interest rates: fixed and adjustable. While adjustable rates are initially low, they can change over the course of a loan, so your mortgage payments may fluctuate. Loan term indicates how long you have to pay off the loan. Many homebuyers tend to opt for a 15-year or 30-year mortgage, though other terms are available. A longer loan term generally means you’ll have lower monthly payments, but you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. A shorter loan term may come with higher monthly payments, but you’ll likely pay much less in interest over time.

Q: What are the costs of homeownership beyond the monthly mortgage payment?

Richardson: People often think of the down payment and monthly mortgage — but buying and owning a home carries additional costs. Closing costs, for example, can amount to up to 3% or more of the final purchase price. Other factors that could add on to your monthly payments are property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and homeowner’s association (HOA) fees. To get an idea of what this may look like for you, use an affordability calculator.

While there is no way for a buyer to completely avoid paying these fees, there are ways to save on them. Some banks offer financial assistance for homebuyers. As an example, Chase’s Homebuyer Grant offers up to $5,000 that can be used toward a down payment or closing costs in eligible neighborhoods across the country. There may also be homeowners’ or down payment assistance offered in your city or state. Contact a home lending advisor to learn about resources you may be eligible for.

For a deeper dive into this topic, our Beginner to Buyer podcast — episode three, “How Much Can I Afford?” is a great resource for prospective homebuyers to get answers to all their homebuying questions.

Learn more about the homebuying process, here.

Sponsored content from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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California Black Media

Golden State Could have $25 Billion Deficit in 2023-24 Fiscal Year

California taxes wealthy people more than other states, so most of the revenue decline is because the rich aren’t making as much money as they used to. The report details that California could see deficits between $8 billion to $17 billion in the following years.

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The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.
The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.

By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

California’s government may have a faceoff with a $25 billion budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year as tax revenues decline, according to a report issued by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

During a Nov.16 video press briefing, Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek said that if the predicted downturn happens, it will be the Golden State’s weakest revenue performance since the 2008 to 2009 Great Recession.

“It is not insignificant, but it is also manageable,” Petek said. “We don’t think of this as a budget crisis. We just think of it as a notable budget problem that the Legislature will have to confront when it begins that process in January.”

The LAO, the state Legislature’s fiscal and policy advisor, details the budget shortfall and suggests ways to avoid it in the 20-page “The 2023-24 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook.”

The document is released yearly around this time to help guide California lawmakers as they begin to put together budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year.

Petek said the threat of a national recession and actions by the Federal Reserve played a hand in the report’s outlook, but the predicted numbers are not based on a recession occurring.

“Economic conditions are really weighing on the revenue estimates that are a major influencer of our fiscal output,” Petek said. “With elevated inflation that causes the Fed to have to take action to cool down the economy in its effort to bring down inflation. The longer and the higher inflation remains, the more aggressive the Fed has to be. And the more aggressive the Fed has to be, it really increases the risk that the economy will fall into a recession. So, that being said, our revenue estimates do not assume a recession.”

California taxes wealthy people more than other states, so most of the revenue decline is because the rich aren’t making as much money as they used to. The report details that California could see deficits between $8 billion to $17 billion in the following years.

Less spending on large, one-time allocations is one way the state can offset the revenue losses it is expected to experience.

In response to the LAO budget prediction, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said the state has budget resiliency — $37.2 billion in reserves.

“We can and will protect the progress of the recent year’s budgets,” Rendon said. “In particular, the Assembly will protect California’s historic school funding gains, as districts must continue to invest in retaining and recruiting staff to help kids advance and recover from the pandemic.”

State Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said that in the past, the dreary budget forecast would have meant program cuts and middle-class tax increases.

“That does not have to be the case this year,” Atkins said. “Thanks to our responsible approach, we are confident that we can protect our progress and craft a state budget without ongoing cuts to schools and other core programs or taxing middle class families. The bottom line is simple: we are prepared to hold onto the gains we’ve made and continue where we left off once our economy and revenues rebound.”

Petek recommended that legislators not look to the reserves to solve the budget paucity when they begin formulating the state spending plan in early 2023.

“It would be prudent to try and identify other solutions in the early part of the budget period, and then if and when we have a lot more information about the economic situation — if revenues have deteriorated for example or if there were a recession, we are certainly not saying don’t use the reserves,” he said. “We are saying, keep them on hold and you have them to turn to in that situation if the picture has gone south in May. You have the reserves that we can tap into to really help supplement the other solutions identified earlier in the process.”

Republican Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) said the report is a wakeup call.

“California’s economy is weakening, and now with persistent inflation, the revenue that is coming into the State of California is coming in way below projection,” Fong said. “As someone who has been on the budget committee for a number of years, we have been warning about this. The ruling party in Sacramento continues to spend and grow government programs without any accountability and the budget is completely unsustainable. We have to refocus on fiscal responsibility.”

LAO’s budget forecast comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-controlled Legislature estimated $97 billion surplus that led to the expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility to all immigrants in 2024, a boost in the earned income tax credit, and free preschool for 4-year-olds.

A relief package, priced at $17 billion, to help families, seniors and low-income Californians and small businesses was also approved in June by lawmakers.

The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.

“We make adjustments for caseloads and things that influence the budget expenditures, but if you keep the same policies what would your budget picture look like?” Petek said. “That is what we are trying to tee up for them as they await the governor’s proposal.”

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Black History

Rep. Karen Bass Makes History as L.A.’s First Black Woman Mayor

“The challenges we face affect us all, and all of us must be a part of our solutions,” said Mayor-Elect Karen Bass in a prepared statement. “Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth. I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children.”

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Mayor-Elect Karen Bass addressing supporters on election night, Nov. 8, 2022. Maxim Elramsisy, California Black Media
Mayor-Elect Karen Bass addressing supporters on election night, Nov. 8, 2022. Maxim Elramsisy, California Black Media

By Maxim Elramsisy | California Black Media

“This is my home, and with my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground running on Day One,” Los Angeles Mayor-elect, Rep. Karen Bass announced Nov. 16 after the Associated Press (AP) declared her the projected winner in a tight race for the top job in California’s largest city.

Bass, who has represented the 37th Congressional District of California for 11 years, will be the first woman to lead Los Angeles when she is sworn in on Dec. 12, 2022. She will also be the second Black Angelino to hold the office in a city where 8.8% of residents are Black, according to the U.S. Census.

Before Bass was elected to Congress in 2010, she previously served as a member of the California State Assembly representing the 47th district from 2004 to 2010. From 2008 to 2010 she was the first Black woman to be State Assembly speaker.

In the U.S Congress, Bass represented West Los Angeles and from 2019 to 2021 served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Her opponent, businessman Rick Caruso, conceded that Bass had won the election Wednesday evening, just over a week after the polls closed in the deadlocked race that election watchers said until this week had no apparent winner until now.

A former Republican turned Democrat, Caruso told his supporters in a letter “the campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am so proud of my campaign. We held true to the core values of our family – integrity, honesty, and respect for all.”

A billionaire real estate developer, Caruso owns residential and retail properties around Southern California, including The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, Americana at Brand in Glendale and the Commons at Calabasas.

The vote was virtually tied on Election Day, but each subsequent update to the tally extended the lead for Bass. The counting will continue until every ballot is accounted for, but according to the AP, she has accrued an insurmountable lead.

Almost 75% of voters in L.A. County voted by mail in this election, contributing to some of the delay in announcing a winner.

According to California state law, each mail-in ballot must have its signature verified before it can be counted, and ballots are received for seven days after the election, so long as they are postmarked by Election Day.

A record amount of money was spent on the race, with Caruso’s campaign vastly outspending Bass. The Caruso campaign reported a total expenditure of $104,848,887.43.

Caruso himself contributed almost $98 million to his own campaign, which he spent primarily on advertising.

“Despite being outspent 12 to 1, Congresswoman Karen Bass proved L.A. voters can’t be bought,” said Kerman Maddox, the finance committee chair of Bass 4 Mayor.

Vastly outspent from the start of her candidacy, Bass also won the June 7 primary election.

Bass benefited from endorsements from Democrats at all levels of government, including former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, California Senator Alex Padilla and the Los Angeles Democratic Party. One notable holdout was Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Kellie Todd Griffin, Convening Founder of the California Black Women’s Collective — a collective of hundreds of Black women from various professional backgrounds across the state — referenced Bass’ background as a strong and respected voice for Los Angeles’ African American community.

“This is a victory that we are all vested in because it represents the power of what we can do through community organizing and collaboration,” Griffin said. “Mayor-Elect Bass is the change we need right now to ensure today’s most pressing issues will be addressed in a way that doesn’t leave us behind. We are proud because this a victory for Black women and our community.”

Bass is well known across Los Angeles for building cross-cultural, multi-racial coalitions of people and being able to rally them around causes.

During the crack epidemic of the 1980s, she was a physician’s assistant and a clinical instructor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC Physician Assistant Program who became a leading voice for victims affected by the highly addictive substance derived from cocaine.

Bass promised that her administration will be inclusive and “will bring everyone to the table.”

“The challenges we face affect us all, and all of us must be a part of our solutions,” she said in a prepared statement. “Los Angeles is the greatest city on Earth. I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children.”

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