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Economy

Fund Commits $50M for Down Payment Assistance

HUDSON VALLEY PRESS — The down payment assistance funds will be used in conjunction with first mortgage home purchase loans.

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By The Hudson Valley Press

MIAMI, Fl – At its recent Mid-Winter Conference in Miami, FL, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with United Security Financial (USF), a minority-owned mortgage company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah to make down payment assistance more broadly available to Black American home buyers. The two organizations announced that they have obtained a commitment of $50 million down payment assistance funds from LBC Funding, LLC to assist in the expansion of homeownership for low-to-moderate income purchasers.

“NAREB welcomes the collaboration with United Security Financial. Latest official homeownership rates issued by the U.S. Census Bureau, report that Black homeownership at 41.7% lagging far behind the Non-Hispanic White homeownership rate of 73.1%. That nearly 30% gap represents a significant loss of economic security and wealth building opportunity for Black Americans. NAREB’s goal is to build Black wealth through homeownership. That’s why NAREB continues to forge ahead with its aggressive 2 Million New Black Homeowners in 5 Years (2Mn5) program,” said Jeffrey Hicks, president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) founded 72 years ago to ensure “Democracy in Housing” for Black Americans.

Lois Johnson, chief executive officer of United Security Financial, the company that is managing the fund that will provide the $50 million commitment, explained why USF had chosen to partner with NAREB. She stated, “Since 1947, NAREB has been at the forefront of an ongoing effort to secure homeownership for people of color. We, at USF, while serving all citizens, regardless of race, creed or sex, are excited to support equality in housing. NAREB’s mission is aligned with our corporate values. This MOU creates a win-win for both of our organizations.”

The down payment assistance funds will be used in conjunction with first mortgage home purchase loans made by USF to NAREB Realists’ clients over the next 12 months. The commitment represents an important step in meeting the 2Mn5 goal. “The new partnership with USF allows Black Americans to overcome one less barrier in their quest to become home owners,” Hicks added.

This article originally appeared in the Hudson Valley Press

Commentary

City Government: Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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First in a Series on Jobs in Oakland

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.

The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.

Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”

Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.

And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.

And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.

As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.

Oakland, we can do  better than this.

We must.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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City Government

City Council Passes Reid’s Gun Violence Resolution

Officially declaring gun violence a public health crisis within the City of Oakland, the resolution endorses the call from many community-based organizations for Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors to direct an equitable amount of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds into violence prevention resources.   

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stop gun violence sign photo courtesy chip vincent via unsplash

Reacting to Oakland’s 100th homicide of the year, the City Council unanimously voted to adopt Councilmember Treva Reid’s gun violence resolution.

Officially declaring gun violence a public health crisis within the City of Oakland, the resolution endorses the call from many community-based organizations for Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors to direct an equitable amount of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds into violence prevention resources.

“We are in a state of emergency. We can no longer continue to report the lives lost of our loved ones without intentionally working to implement immediate and strategic solutions to stop the onslaught of violence that we are experiencing,” said Reid.

By officially declaring gun violence a public health crisis and calling for additional funding from the county, Reid says Oakland can achieve the following:

  • Deeper investments for violence prevention programs, like Ceasefire and Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (MACRO), as well as community healing organizations
  • Funds for culturally responsive mental health services
  • Additional community clinics and providers to support holistic delivery of health services
  • Rental support, down payment assistance, homeownership retention, and affordable housing development
  • Access to life coaching, service connectors, living wage jobs and grants and technical assistance for Black business to enhance economic self sufficiency
  • Expanded work force development and business assistance resources

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Business

New, Black-Owned Food Truck Rolls Out

Oakland A’s Support Launch of West Oakland-Based Business

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Soul on a Roll Food Truck chefs (l-r):Sarah Germany, Keshia Evans, Howard Harrison, GaQuayla LeGrone

On Friday, September 17, hundreds showed up for the nonprofit, West-Oakland-based organization Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW) as they launched its Soul on a Roll food truck business, operated and soon to be cooperatively owned by chefs Sarah Germany, Keshia Evans, Howard Harrison and GaQuayla LeGrone. The latter three are formerly incarcerated.

This is another step in the Mission of OAW, to launch and sustain for-profit businesses for ownership by formerly incarcerated and other socioeconomically marginalized people.  The Oakland A’s made a significant contribution to the start-up of the food truck in their efforts to support economic development in West Oakland.

The event was held at OAW’s base at 7th and Campbell Streets. Along with free food from Soul on a Roll, entertainment was provided by the West Coast Blues Society, with founder Ronnie Stewart and performances by blues legends featured on the historic Seventh Street Walk of Fame, including Terrible Tom, Lee Ashford and Minor Williams. The Seventh Street Walk of Fame runs along the front of OAW’s base.

Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval was presented with a commendation from both OAW and the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC).  Accepting for Dave was Stephanie Gaywood of the Oakland A’s.

OAACC President and CEO Cathy Adams presented the  Oakland African American Chamber’s award at the press conference and community event.  Adams said, “Dave has made it clear that the Oakland A’s commitment to the community is steadfast.”  And, Elaine Brown, CEO of OAW said, “OAW is grateful to the A’s for providing real support to a business venture based in the community. We intend for Soul on a Roll to be a model for a thousand businesses to bloom.”

Certificates of recognition to OAW’s four chefs were provided by the offices of Mayor Libby Schaff, Supervisor Keith Carson, State Senator Nancy Skinner, and U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, represented by Tatyana Kalinga.

Another OAW business, its first, West Oakland Farms, also operated by formerly incarcerated people and in business since 2016, presently sits on the site at 7th and Campbell.  In late November 2021, OAW will break ground on its 100% affordable housing complex there, which is co-owned by OAW and its development partner McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS).

MBS Senior VP Adhi Nagraj will be on hand for questions.  West Oakland Farms will be temporarily dismantled and reincorporated into the new housing complex. For more information, please log on to the website www.oaklandandtheworld.org

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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