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Racial Justice--Beyond Good Intentions

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
In This Issue: The Latest Shelterforce Quarterly Magazine ● Police and Communities, No Easy Answers ● Housing Justice Organizers March Against White Supremacy ● Is Louisiana Becoming a Better Place for its Lower-Income Families? ● Also: Industry News ● You Said It! ● In Case You Missed It ● Jobs ● More

It affects everything in American society.

It’s also at the core of community development work. Community development organizations rebuild from the devastation created by redlining, urban renewal, or segregation. They work to close racial disparities in homeownership rates, access to opportunity and fair housing, and health outcomes. They fight housing and land use policies that have racially disparate outcomes. They seek to empower those whose voice has been left out of decisions about what happens in their communities.

Working, directly or indirectly, to fight racial injustice is a large part of what the field does. And yet, that doesn’t get us off the hook. We need to . . .
While they often work with law enforcement to address concerns of crime and neighborhood safety, community development practitioners are also aware that many of the residents they serve have experiences of mistreatment at the hands of those same departments; and advocating for tougher policing or increased incarceration often creates the results that brought about the need for their work in the first place.

A group of several practitioners discussed how they navigate the conflict that is inherent in their work—from gang-related gun violence to implicit bias—and try to rebuild trust between police departments and communities.
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City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU), a housing justice organization in Boston, had about 40 participants in neon yellow T-shirts following behind a CLVU banner. They were gathered with approximately another 30-35 people from compatriots such as Right to the City, Chinese Progressive Association, Dorchester People for Peace, and Liberation Mental Health, according to CLVU lead organizer Steve Meacham.

“To have 40,000 people march against the system of white supremacy was pretty amazing. I wouldn’t have foreseen such an event only a few months ago,” says Meacham. “Of course, even such a huge turnout does not penetrate all of Mass., much less all the country. Much work to do.”

Here’s how CLVU described why it was organizing to have an official presence at this march:
Jan Moller, Louisiana Budget Project, Solana Rice, Prosperity Now, and Joyce James, LA BEST
Data and research tell us which states are lagging economically, whether due to high poverty rates, lackluster job growth, high costs of living, or other factors. Although these rankings can be illuminative, they rarely tell us how poorly performing states secured their low rankings, nor do they specify what can be done to improve outcomes going forward.

When the 2017 Prosperity Now Scorecard was published last month, it was no surprise that Louisiana ranked second-to-last among all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Whenever these state-by-state rankings come out, Louisiana typically falls somewhere near the bottom. In many ways, the Scorecard confirmed what we already knew: that most Louisiana families, especially low-income families and families of color, are not faring well financially.

What was surprising, however, was how far Louisiana had fallen . . .
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Industry News
Akilah Watkins Butler CCP
Center for Community Progress (CCP) welcomes Akilah Watkins-Butler as new president and CEOWatkins-Butler joined CCP in June, having previously served as associate director at Community Change and director of national partnerships at NeighborWorks America. She also worked with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as deputy director of Leadership for Healthy Communities, and served with the Choice and Promise Neighborhoods initiative at the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Watkins-Butler succeeds former executive director Tamar Shapiro, who moves on to live and work in Germany.
You Said It!

I wonder if maybe your analysis is missing one subtly pro-business approach. I suspect that the idea of “removing” NOAHs from the market isn’t as well received here in Texas as in California, so to play to that reality I would suggest actively investing in privately-owned apartment complexes in exchange for . . . —Chris, more

Chris, are there any examples where such a strategy has worked? In areas where market rents are rapidly escalating, it is difficult if not impossible to get private investors/landlords to agree to long term rent caps. And 15 years is hardly . . . —Jeff Levin, more

There is a very coastal component to this analysis, which is fine, but it doesn’t address the issue in the Midwest and South where rents are much lower and land is not scarce. Here in Columbus, Ohio, we have begun to see speculation in the big apartment complexes built back in the glory days of the . . . —Roy Lowenstein, more

A housing cooperative is a housing insurance plan, the larger the group of insured, the greater the probability of success and lower premiums (but a size within representative democratic governable limits). Grouping of smaller apartment buildings within a manageable area in a scattered sites cooperative with the cooperative offices and community space in the basement of one of the buildings will achieve . . . —Herbert H. Fisher, more

Thank you for offering us a wonderful alternative to NOAH. HAUTMSS is easy to say [suggested pronunciation: “hot mess”] and much more accurate. And thank you for reminding us that the struggle against displacement is . . . —Judy Meima, more
In Case You Missed It
Executive Director
The person in this role is responsible for the overall management, strategic direction, fundraising, accountability, and administration of the organization to ensure it achieves its goals. Ideal candidates for this position will be passionate about NeighborWorks Great Falls’ mission of developing affordable housing and improving the . . . Read Full Listing
Senior Housing Developer
The person in this role is engaged in activities which lead to the successful completion of affordable housing development contracts and projects, improve client capacity, and meet local community development objectives. The Senior Housing Developer plans, coordinates and manages, leading project teams, supervising . . . Read Full Listing
Housing Developer
The person in this role completes real estate development functions, including taking the lead on affordable housing and community facilities developments. The position requires experience in many aspects of housing development, as well as capacity for good time management, and to be self-motivated and use independent . . . Read Full Listing
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Featured Bloggers
Bob Annibale, Citi ● Laura Barrett, Interfaith Worker Justice ● Murtaza Baxamusa, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC ● Michael Bodaken, National Housing Trust ● Bill Bynum, HOPE Credit Union ● Steve Dubb, Democracy Collaborative ● Jamaal Green, Portland State University ● John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service ● David Holtzman, newspaper reporter and former planner ● Josh Ishimatsu, National CAPACD ● Rick Jacobus, Street Level Advisors ● Daniel Kravetz, freelance writer ● Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress ● Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity ● Doug Ryan, Prosperity Now ● Josh Silver, NCRC ● James Tracy, San Francisco Community Land Trust ● Eva Wingren, Baltimore Community Foundation