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Research & Solutions

OPPORTUNITY

The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today

THE NATION | BY JOSHUA HOLLAND | 08.08.16

If current economic trends continue, the average black household will need 228 years to accumulate as much wealth as their white counterparts hold today. For the average Latino family, it will take 84 years. Absent significant policy interventions, or a seismic change in the American economy, people of color will never close the gap.

Those are the key findings of a new study of the racial wealth-gap released this week by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and the Corporation For Economic Development (CFED). They looked at trends in household wealth from 1983 to 2013—a 30-year period that captured the rise of Reaganomics, expanded international trade and two major financial crashes fueled by bubbles in the tech sector and housing prices.

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Ever-Growing Gap

INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES | BY CHUCK COLLINS, DEDRICK ASANTE-MUHAMMED, JOSH HOXIE AND EMANUEL NIEVES | 08.08.16

The Ever-Growing Gap: Failing to Address the Status Quo Will Drive the Racial Wealth Divide for Centuries to Come

Racial and economic inequality are the most pressing social issues of our time. In the last decade, we have seen the catastrophic economic impact of the Great Recession and an ensuing recovery that has bypassed millions of Americans, especially households of color. This period of economic turmoil has been punctuated by civil unrest throughout the country in the wake of a series of high-profile African-American deaths at the hands of police. These senseless and violent events have not only given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, they have also sharpened the nation’s focus on the inequities and structural barriers facing households of color.

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A Strong Middle Class Doesn’t Just Happen Naturally

THE ATLANTIC | BY REBECCA J. ROSEN | 06.29.16

A strong middle class is, for many people, central to the American idea. There are other core values too, of course—freedom, political representation, individualism, etc.—but an economy in which families can feel economic security, live comfortably, and build up wealth is definitely on the list.

But that’s not the economy America has today. The middle class is getting smaller by the year: According to Pew, the percent of adults in solidly middle-income households has fallen to 50 percent in 2015, from 61 percent in 1951.

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White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Report: July 2011

Executive Summary: The Obama Administration recognizes that the interconnected challenges in high-poverty neighborhoods require interconnected solutions. Struggling schools, little access to capital, high unemployment, poor housing, persistent crime, and other challenges feed into and perpetuate each other, intensifying challenges for residents. One piece of the Administration’s strategy for catalyzing change in these communities is the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative Report—a bold new approach to helping neighborhoods in distress transform themselves into neighborhoods of opportunity through integrated, comprehensive support. The Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative is a strategy to improve alignment among Federal departments that direct resources to neighborhoods in distress and support a variety of programs and policies that address poverty.

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Report: Progressive Redistribution Without Guilt

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE | BY JOSH BIVENS | 06.09.16

What this report finds: Boosting income growth for the bottom 90 percent requires a policy agenda that explicitly aims to halt or reverse the rise in inequality in the United States in recent decades. The economic evidence shows no generalizable relationship between rising inequality and faster growth. This is important good news. It means that an agenda based on progressive redistribution can unambiguously raise living standards for the bottom 90 percent and even likely be better for overall growth than the agenda promoted by those who are opposed to strong efforts to check rising inequality and instead want to focus solely on spurring overall growth.

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What Happened to the American Dream?

WITF | BY SANDY ST. LOUIS | 06.20.16

It’s a central premise of the American dream: If you’re willing to work hard, you’ll be able to make a living and build a better life for your children. But what if working hard isn’t enough to ensure success — or even the basic necessities of daily life?

FRONTLINE’s Two American Families follows two ordinary families who have spent the past 20 years in an extraordinary battle to keep from sliding into poverty.

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The US has Increased Spending on Prisons Three Times as Fast as Spending on Schools

QUARTZ | BY AMY X. WANG | 07.08.16

State and local governments are much more willing to pay to jail people than educate them, according to a report (pdf) released from the Department of Education yesterday (July 8). The department found that spending on correctional facilities increased by 324%, to $71 billion, from 1979 to 2013, while public education (kindergarten to high school) only increased by 107%, to $534 billion, over that same period.

Keep in mind that’s a national average: in some states like Wyoming and Texas, the rate of prison spending has grown roughly eight times more quickly than school spending.

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Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy

THE ROOSEVELT INSTITUTE | BY ANDREA FLYNN, DORIAN WARREN, FELICIA WONG, SUSAN HOLMBERG | 06.06.16

Rewriting the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy argues that, in order to understand racial and economic inequality among black Americans, we must acknowledge the racial rules that undergird our economy and society. Those rules—laws, policies, institutions, regulations, and normative practices—are the driving force behind the patently unequal life chances and opportunities for too many individuals.

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Protecting Communities on the Road to Recovery

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS | BY SARAH EDELMAN, MICHELA ZONTA, SHIV REAWAL | 06.28.16

More than 778,000 homeowners with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, and the two government-backed mortgage corporations—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—are at serious risk of foreclosure. A full housing recovery in the fragile neighborhoods where many of these loans are located largely hinges on how well agencies and investors are able to help these homeowners stay in their homes. And in those cases where foreclosure is unavoidable, it is important to ensure that vacant properties are well-maintained and do not further erode home values in a neighborhood.

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Economic Security for Black and Hispanic Families

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS | BY MOLLY CAIN & SUNNY FROTHINGHAM | 06.21.16

One of the biggest concerns for millions of working parents across the United States is their families’ economic security, especially as costs increase and incomes stagnate. Many black and Hispanic families face an even more challenging path to financial stability and economic prosperity, as they typically face lower median incomes and higher poverty and unemployment rates. These families should have the opportunity to achieve economic security. Progressive policies—such as paid family and medical leave; paid sick days; increased access to high-quality, affordable child care; and fair wages—would help offer them that opportunity.

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Debt by Degrees

PRO PUBLICA | BY SISI WEI AND ANNIE WALDMAN | 09.12.15

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows in unprecedented detail how much federal student loan debt college students from low-income families are being saddled with. Use this interactive database to search among 6,000 schools in the U.S. to see how much they support their poorest students financially.

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WAGES

Celebrating the Fight for $15: How raising the minimum wage helps build an economy that works for all

FORD FOUNDATION | BY ANNA SHIREER WADIA | 09.01.16

In the United States, we have a lot to celebrate this Labor Day. By organizing on the job, in the streets, at the ballot box, in state houses and city halls around the country, workers have made significant gains in raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick days and paid family leave, and cracking down on wage theft. Recently the Ford Foundation, in partnership with The New Press, SEIU 775, and our grantees the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Employment Law Project, and the Roosevelt Institute, hosted a discussion about The Fight for $15: The Right Wage for a Working America, a new book by labor leader David Rolf. Following are highlights from that event.

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The Wealthy Have Nearly Healed from Recession. The Poor Haven’t Even Started.

THE WASHINGTON POST | BY JIM TANKERSLEY | 08.18.16

In the United States, we have a lot to celebrate this Labor Day. By organizing on the job, in the streets, at the ballot box, in state houses and city halls around the country, workers have made significant gains in raising the minimum wage, guaranteeing paid sick days and paid family leave, and cracking down on wage theft. Recently the Ford Foundation, in partnership with The New Press, SEIU 775, and our grantees the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Employment Law Project, and the Roosevelt Institute, hosted a discussion about The Fight for $15: The Right Wage for a Working America, a new book by labor leader David Rolf. Following are highlights from that event.

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New Data Offer First Infuriating Glimpse At How The Richest 0.001 Percent Pay Income Taxes

THINKPROGRESS | 06.02.15

Tax day doesn’t sting much if you live at the gilded edge, according to new data on how the top one-hundredth of one percent and the top one-thousandth of a percent of all filers pay their income taxes. People who make tens of millions of dollars enjoyed falling income tax rates and ballooning wealth for a decade as middle-class taxpayers floundered.

The new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data helps illustrate the logic behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) call for radically reshaping the American income tax system to create pricey new brackets for extremely high earners. The numbers provide a deeper look inside the highest income echelon, breaking out data on income tax rates and total yearly earnings in previously unpublished detail. In the last year of the Bush tax cuts, there were well over a thousand people who reported more than $60 million in earnings but paid federal income tax rates far below 20 percent.

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US Minimum Wage Map

Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Rates
PA Basic Minimum Rate (per hour) Premium Pay
After Designated Hours
Daily Weekly
$7.25 40
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US Department of Labor: Facts on the Minimum Wage

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour effective July 24, 2009. The federal minimum wage provisions are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many states also have minimum wage laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal minimum wage laws, the employee is entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages.

The FLSA does not provide wage payment or collection procedures for an employee’s usual or promised wages or commissions in excess of those required by the FLSA. However, some states do have laws under which such claims (sometimes including fringe benefits) may be filed.

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Living Wage Calculator

Introduction to the living wage model

The living wage model is an alternative measure of basic needs. It is a market-based approach that draws upon geographically specific expenditure data related to a family’s likely minimum food, child care, health insurance, housing, transportation, and other basic necessities (e.g. clothing, personal care items, etc.) costs. Detailed description of the data used in the tool can be found on the landing page of each state.

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Report: 2014 Continues a 35-Year Trend of Broad-Based Wage Stagnation

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE | BY ELISE GOULD | 02.19.15

Introduction and executive summary: Last year was yet another year of poor wage growth for American workers. With few exceptions, real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wages fell or stagnated for workers across the wage spectrum between 2013 and 2014—even for those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree.

Of course, as EPI has documented for nearly three decades, this is not a new story. Comparing 2014 with 2007 (the last period of reasonable labor market health before the Great Recession), hourly wages for the vast majority of American workers have been flat or falling.

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Unemployment rates for Hispanics or Latinos by state in 2015

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS | 03.10.16

There were 26.1 million Hispanics or Latinos in the U.S. labor force in 2015, and their unemployment rate averaged 6.6 percent. Fourteen states had a Hispanic or Latino labor force of more than 400,000; these states accounted for 83 percent of the total Hispanic or Latino labor force. Among these 14 states, Texas had the lowest unemployment rate for Hispanics or Latinos, 4.9 percent. The rate in Georgia was 5.1 percent, and the rate in Colorado was 5.5 percent. Florida (5.8 percent) and Washington (6.1 percent) also had Hispanic unemployment rates lower than the national average.

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Racial, Gender Wage Gap Persist in U.S. Despite Some Progress

PEW RESEARCH CENTER | BY EILEEN PATTEN | 07.01.16

Large racial and gender wage gaps in the U.S. remain, even as they have narrowed in some cases over the years. Among full- and part-time workers in the U.S., blacks in 2015 earned just 75% as much as whites in median hourly earnings and women earned 83% as much as men.

Looking at gender, race and ethnicity combined, all groups, with the exception of Asian men, lag behind white men in terms of median hourly earnings, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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Raising America’s Pay

ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE | 06.04.14

Right now there is much debate over what to do about rising income inequality in America. These discussions too often miss that the key to shared prosperity is to foster wage growth. Pay of the vast majority of Americans has been stuck for decades, even though productivity and earnings at the top are escalating. Americans are working harder, more productively, and with more education than ever, but are treading water, as an enormous and ever-increasing share of income growth goes to corporate profits and executive pay. This is a solvable problem. It can be traced in no small part to policies that have allowed labor standards, business practices, and ideas of fairness to increasingly favor employers at the expense of workers.

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Soaring Poverty at the Philadelphia International Airport

NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT | 16.11.13

Every day, more than 600 airplanes take off from the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) carrying passengers and cargo to more than 120 cities.1 PHL generates more than $14.4 billion in spending for the regional economy and supports over 141,000 jobs.2 Many of those who work at the airport aren’t actually employed by PHL or by the airlines.3 Jobs that were once directly performed by airline employees have been contracted out to private contractors who pay low wages and don’t provide affordable benefits. Full-time airport workers are simply not making enough to make ends meet. More than one in five workers or their families reported going hungry last year because they couldn’t afford to buy enough food.

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JOBS

Education Gaps Don't Fully Explain Why Black Unemployment Is So High

THE ATLANTIC | BY GILLIAN B. WHITE | 12.31.15

The economy is improving: Nationally, unemployment is about 5 percent, down from 10 percent in 2009. But for black Americans, the unemployment rate is much higher—for them, the economy is still a disaster. Unemployment among blacks was 9.5 percent during the third quarter of 2015 compared to only 4.5 percent for whites. While the discrepancy in unemployment has been volatile, the current gap is actually slightly larger than the one that existed 15 years ago or in the years directly preceding the recession.

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Unemployment rates for Hispanics or Latinos by state in 2015

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS | 03.10.16

There were 26.1 million Hispanics or Latinos in the U.S. labor force in 2015, and their unemployment rate averaged 6.6 percent. Fourteen states had a Hispanic or Latino labor force of more than 400,000; these states accounted for 83 percent of the total Hispanic or Latino labor force. Among these 14 states, Texas had the lowest unemployment rate for Hispanics or Latinos, 4.9 percent. The rate in Georgia was 5.1 percent, and the rate in Colorado was 5.5 percent. Florida (5.8 percent) and Washington (6.1 percent) also had Hispanic unemployment rates lower than the national average.

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Unemployment rates for African Americans by state in 2015

BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS | 03.04.16

In 2015, the unemployment rate for the United States averaged 5.3 percent. The rate for African Americans was 9.6 percent, but rates varied among the states. The lowest unemployment rates for African Americans were in Hawaii (4.1 percent), Alaska (4.6 percent), Nebraska (5.3 percent), and Colorado (5.9 percent). The highest unemployment rates for African Americans were in Iowa (14.8 percent), Minnesota (14.1 percent), and Nevada (13.5 percent).

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Minimum Hours for Maximum Impact: Creating Family- Sustaining Building Service Jobs in Today’s Economy

THE CENTER FOR POPULAR DEMOCRACY, LOCAL PROGRESS, FAIR WORKWEEK INITIATIVE | BY CONNIE RAZZA | 12.31.15

As momentum for raising minimum wages builds across the country, minimum hours will complete the equation, stabilizing the incomes of the majority (60 percent) of working Americans who are paid by the hour. We need to get back to the idea of a family-sustaining workweek that ensures the opportunity to work enough hours to make ends meet, with both high enough wages and fair schedules. Today many workers are facing the problem that they are offered too few hours to support themselves and their families. Involuntary part-time employment more than doubled after the recession and persists today with more than 6 million Americans struggling to work enough hours to climb out of poverty.

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COWS, A Pittsburgh that Works for Working People

NATIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAW PROJECT | 16.11.13

Every day, more than 600 airplanes take off from the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) carrying passengers and cargo to more than 120 cities.1 PHL generates more than $14.4 billion in spending for the regional economy and supports over 141,000 jobs.2 Many of those who work at the airport aren’t actually employed by PHL or by the airlines.3 Jobs that were once directly performed by airline employees have been contracted out to private contractors who pay low wages and don’t provide affordable benefits. Full-time airport workers are simply not making enough to make ends meet. More than one in five workers or their families reported going hungry last year because they couldn’t afford to buy enough food.

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A Pittsburgh that Works for Working People

CENTER ON WISCONSIN STRATEGY | BY SATYA RHODES-CONWAY, LAURA DRESSER, MEL MEDER, MARY EBELING | 05.2016

During the 20th Century, Pittsburgh was known for the steel industry and the broad middle class prosperity that was shared by many residents. Today, Pittsburgh is in the process of rebuilding its economy around new sectors, such as tech start-ups. The city has found some success in this economic transition, and the population has stabilized as highly educated tech workers move into trendy neighborhoods, but too many working people are being left behind. Residents worry about displacement from their homes and high housing costs, median income has stagnated, and racial disparities persist.

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States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

THE CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND | BY KARLA WALTER, TOM HUCKER, AND DAVID MADLAND | 03.2013

As our country inches its way out of the Great Recession and looks toward the future, it is clear that we need a new framework to guide our economic growth. The old trickle-down economic model of the past several decades is failing nearly everyone, save those at the very top.

Incomes for the middle class and the poor are stagnant or falling, while the costs of life’s necessities continue to rise, and the risks of falling behind economically grow. Our country faces a mounting economic opportunity deficit, as the American promise—the idea that if you work hard, you can achieve the good life, exemplified by a secure paycheck that grows year after year; a nice home in a safe neighborhood with decent schools; retirement savings; health care; some leisure time to spend with friends and family; and the ability to send your kids to college and pass them a bigger share of the American Dream—feels like it is slipping out of reach for far too many.

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Raising the Floor: How Wage Standards ProtectWorkers, Build Communities and Strengthen our City

FISCAL POLICY INSTITUTE | BY KARLA WALTER, TOM HUCKER, AND DAVID MADLAND | 12.2014

Despite considerable growth in the New York City economy over the past two decades, very little of that growth has trickled down to the average worker and his or her family. It is no exaggeration when Mayor Bill de Blasio says the future of the middle class, and the American Dream, is in danger: “Without a dramatic change of direction — an economic policy that combats inequality and rebuilds our middle class — New York will become little more than a playground for the rich, where millions upon millions of New Yorkers struggle each and every day to keep their heads above water.”

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Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

CENTER ON WISCONSIN STRATEGY | BY JOEL ROGERS AND SATYA RHODES-CONWAY | 02.2014

American politics often treats cities as unwanted stepchildren. At best, they’re “a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” At worst, cities are collections of pathologies: searing poverty, violent crime, dysfunctional schools, bloated bureaucracies, and corrupt politics.

We are often told that cities are subject to a sort of Iron Law of Urban Decay, dooming even those that are initially successful to eventual fiscal and social crisis. By this alleged law, as incomes rise, people inevitably move out to greener suburbs. The suburbs then insulate themselves from the taxes or other revenue claims from the central city that they feed from.

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HOUSING

Black Lead Matters

THE NEW YORK TIMES | BY PAUL KRUGMAN | 09.02.16

Donald Trump is still claiming that “inner-city crime is reaching record levels,” promising to save African-Americans from the “slaughter.” In fact, this urban apocalypse is a figment of his imagination; urban crime is actually at historically low levels. But he’s not the kind of guy to care about another “Pants on Fire” verdict from PolitiFact.

Yet some things are, of course, far from fine in our cities, and there is a lot we should be doing to help black communities. We could, for example, stop pumping lead into their children’s blood.

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Today’s Renters Really Are Worse Off Than Their Parents

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | BY LAURA KUSISTO | 07.29.16

It’s not just your imagination. It is a lot harder to afford an apartment today than it was for your parents’ generation.

Sharp increases in rents along with stagnant incomes over the past five years have helped create a dire situation for many of the country’s renters. A new report shows how those trends have actually been playing out for more than five decades.

Inflation-adjusted rents have risen by 64% since 1960, but real household incomes only increased by 18% during that same time period, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data released by Apartment List, a rental listing website.

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Decades After Ban, Lead Paint Lingers

THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS | BY TERESA WILTZR | 08.27.16

In the wake of the Flint water crisis, states are rushing to test for high levels of lead in drinking water. But many are failing to come to grips with a more insidious problem: lingering lead paint in homes and schools.

Paint, rather than drinking water, remains the main source of lead poisoning of young children in the U.S. But even though there are myriad federal and state laws designed to eradicate lead paint, enforcement is lackluster, hampered by a lack of money and the misperception that the problem has been solved. Many state laws don’t conform to federal recommendations, and federal funding for lead abatement has been slashed from $176 million in 2003 to $110 million in 2014.

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The Geography of Inequality: Segregation is Normalized but Must be Put to an End

SALON | BY DANIEL DENVIR | 08.02.16

On television, Philadelphia played a largely meaningless backdrop to the Democratic National Convention.

“My friends, we’ve come to Philadelphia — the birthplace of our nation—because what happened in this city 240 years ago still has something to teach us today,” said Hillary Clinton, accepting her nomination.

In reality, what’s happening in Philadelphia today offers much better grist for political insight. The city, as delegates discovered, boasts amazing restaurants, diverse, bustling parks and markets, charming rowhouse streets, and an urban downtown with the highest residential population of any save for Midtown Manhattan. But as a bumper crop of timely this is the real Philadelphia stories explained, it is also a city pockmarked with boarded-up houses and vacant lots, populated by families broken apart by gun violence and incarceration, and where public school buildings are silent not because it is summertime but rather thanks to the long-term fiscal destruction of the majority-black district.

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Addressing Lead Exposure in Low-Income Communities

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS| BY OCTAVIO NUIRY | 07.20.16

Over the past several months, national outrage around Flint, Michigan’s, water crisis has increased attention on the critical issue of childhood lead poisoning. Decades after ending the use of lead in paint and other sources, lead poisoning remains one of the nation’s most devastating health threats, affecting more than 535,000 children each year, particularly in low-income communities. Such exposure diminishes children’s reading and learning abilities and increases their likelihood of dropping out of school. Policies and resources that fight exposure to lead and ensure that families get the testing and support they need are necessary for children to live in safe and healthy homes. The Center for American Progress is pleased to present a discussion on addressing lead exposure in low-income communities with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, as well as a panel of experts who will discuss best practices for creating lead-free homes and provide insights on how leaders across sectors can work together to ensure that every child lives in an environment conducive to their success.

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Creating Safe and Healthy Living Environments for Low-Income Families

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS | BY TRACEY ROSS, CHELSEA PARSONS, REBECCA VALLAS | 07.20.16

A strong home is central to all of our daily lives. People in the United States spend about 70 percent of their time inside a residence. As the Federal Healthy Homes Work Group explained, “A home has a unique place in our everyday lives. Homes are where we start and end our day, where our children live and play, where friends and family gather to celebrate, and where we seek refuge and safety.” Understanding how fundamental homes are to everything we do, it is troubling that more than 30 million housing units in the United States have significant physical or health hazards, such as dilapidated structures, poor heating, damaged plumbing, gas leaks, or lead.

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This Group Pioneered the Fight for $15. Can They Transform the Fight for Affordable Housing Too?

THE NATION | BY SARAH JAFFE | 07.05.16

The giant sign fluttering in the wind read “Espinal, Don’t Gentrify E NY!” Rachel Rivera, a resident of Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, held up one end of the sign; Lorna Blake, also of East New York, held the other. They were marching on April 13 to the district office of New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal with other members of New York Communities for Change (NYCC) as well as Make the Road New York and several building-trades unions. Their mission: to press Espinal into voting against a rezoning plan that they feared would accelerate gentrification.

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The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood

BY ALEXIS C. MADRIGAL | 05.22.14

Before you read this post, read Ta-Nehisi’s Coates powerful case for reparations, our cover story this month. In it, TNC (as he is known around here) relentlessly demonstrates the “compounding moral debts” of discriminatory practices, especially around housing.

One of the most heinous of these policies was introduced by the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, and lasted until 1968.

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How We Built the Ghettos

THE DAILY BEAST | BY JAMIE BOUIE | 03.13.14

A brief introduction to America’s long history of racist housing policy.

Yesterday, apropos of Paul Ryan’s remarks on “inner-city poverty” and a culture that “doesn’t value work,” I wrote about the policy that went into building our inner-cities and depriving whole communities of wealth and opportunity. Likewise, at MSNBC, Ned Resnikoff wrote an excellent piece on the wide income and wealth disparities between blacks and whites. “ In 1984,” he writes, “the white-to-black wealth ratio was 12-to–1…But over the next 14 years the wealth gap began to grow once again, until it had skyrocketed up to 19-to–1 in 2009.”

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These Are The American Cities With The Most Abandoned Houses

HUFFINGTON POST | BY KATE ABBEY-LAMBERTZ | 02.13.16

The public health crisis that has seized Flint is only the latest struggle for the Michigan city, where one in six houses is vacant after a long period of decline.

The Flint metro area had the highest rate of vacancy in February at 7.5 percent, according to a RealtyTrac report released Thursday that ranked metropolitan statistical areas with the most and least empty houses.  VIEW GALLERY →

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America's 14.2 Million Vacant Homes: A National Crisis

REALTYTRAC | BY OCTAVIO NUIRY | 05.14.13

The housing crash and the subsequent foreclosure crisis has saddled the United States with an extraordinary level of vacant properties, inflicting heavy costs to many American communities, according to Federal Reserve Board Governor Elizabeth A. Duke.

“In order to see the robust economic recovery we all want, we need to deal effectively with the large volume of vacant and distressed properties throughout the country,” said Duke. “The potential fallout of high rates of vacancy — blight, crime, lowered home values, and decreased property tax revenue — is the same for every neighborhood and community.

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INFRASTRUCTURE

An Infrastructure Plan for America

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS | BY KEVIN DEGOOD, CHRISTIAN E. WELLER, ANDREW SCHWARTZ | 07.14.16

How Investing in Infrastructure Will Lay the Foundation for Prosperity, Advance Environmental Goals, and Rebuild the Middle Class

Infrastructure is the foundation that makes everything in the U.S. economy possible. Infrastructure is also essential to our national competitiveness. When done right, infrastructure investments produce broad-based prosperity for American businesses and workers, facilitating social mobility and enabling access to opportunities, people, and ideas.

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Fact Sheet: A Plan for Investing in America’s Infrastructure

CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS | BY KEVIN DEGOOD, CHRISTIAN E. WELLER, ANDREW SCHWARTZ | 07.14.16

Infrastructure is the foundation of our economy and society. When done right, infrastructure investments make our country more competitive and facilitate social mobility by providing strong middle-class jobs and enabling access to opportunities, people, and ideas. Yet, for most people, infrastructure runs in the background, passing unnoticed until a system failure interrupts the flow of daily life. As a result, rebuilding and expanding critical facilities often fails to receive enough attention and funding.

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National Urban League Report: State of Black American

NATIONAL URBAN LEAGUE | 2016

During the 2016 State of Black America Launch Event, attendees were given an informative overview of this year’s State of Black America. Download and view the 2016 State of Black America Executive Summary below. The State of Black America is the National Urban League’s seminal annual publication now in its 40th edition. It is one of the most highly-aniticpated benchmarks and sources for thought leadership around racial equality in America across economics (including employment, income and housing), education, health, social justice and civic engagement. Share the Executive Summary with your networks and let them know to visit www.stateofblackamerica.org to download the full report.

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FACT SHEET: Building a 21st Century Infrastructure: Increasing Public and Private Collaboration with the Build America Investment Initiative

THE WHITE HOUSE | OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY | 07.17.14

Today, the President will deliver remarks at the Port of Wilmington in front of the I-495 Bridge in Delaware. With 90,000 cars moving over it per day before repairs began, this bridge is a key example of the importance of infrastructure, which keeps the economy moving, spurs innovation, and bolsters our national competitiveness. At the port – and in this Year of Action – the President will announce a new executive action to create the Build America Investment Initiative, a government-wide initiative to increase infrastructure investment and economic growth. As part of the Initiative, the Administration is launching the Build America Transportation Investment Center – housed at the Department of Transportation – to serve as a one-stop shop for cities and states seeking to use innovative financing and partnerships with the private sector to support transportation infrastructure.

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American Infrastructure Report Card

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CIVIL ENGINEERS

Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Report Card for America’s Infrastructure depicts the condition and performance of American infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report  card—assigning letter grades based on the physical condition and needed investments for improvement.

The 2013 Report Card grades show we have a significant backlog of overdue maintenance across our  infrastructure systems, a pressing need for modernization, and an immense opportunity to create reliable,  long-term funding, but they also show that we can improve the current condition of our nation’s  infrastructure — when investments are made and projects move forward, the grades rise.

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