Increasing Disparities

December 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe we are going to look back on the past decade and realize that it was a period of increasing, versus decreasing, the income and wealth disparities in our communities.  Unfortunately, wrapped up in the income disparities are what I think will even be a greater disproportionate disparties between white residents and community of color residents in our community.

The Organizing Apprenticeship Project (OAP) released its first Racial Equity Policy Brief in December and reflected on 14 Solutions that Expand Job and Economic Opportunity, and Reduce Minnesota’s Disparities.  The full report can be found at:  http://www.oaproject.org/files/OAP_REPP__1.pdf. I’m incredibly pleased to see that they’ve noted the work of the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) as an effective model to not only create and preserve affordable homeownership, but also as an effective way to reduce racial disparities in our community.  Minnesota is almost always ranked as the number one state as it relates to the percent of the population in homeownership.  That stated, it has also been in the top ten states with the greatest disparity between white homeowners and community of color homeowners.

The early-2000’s saw a real focus on decreasing this diparity between whites and community of color homeowners. The Emerging Markets Homeownership Initiative (EMHI)was launched and it’s primary goal was to decrease this homeownership disparity.  There were gains made through most of the decade, but focus and funding were diminished as foreclosures began to have a larger impact on the middle and upper classes in our community.  As best as I can tell through a recent EMHI Report to the Community, the gains we made in the first eight years of the past decade were lost in the last two years.

The CLCLT has made strides on this front and we are proud that we more than double the homeownership rates for community of color households in Minneapolis, but we can and should be doing better.  We all need to be critical of what has and hasn’t worked in the past and do better for all people equally.

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