New York Attorney General Letitia James released a new report today detailing deep racial disparities in homeownership and access to home financing across the state. Among the report’s top findings is a stark racial gap in homeownership rates in every region in New York, with white households owning their homes at nearly double the rate of households of color. These disparities are a significant contributor to the racial wealth gap and result in higher housing costs for homebuyers of color, making it harder for communities of color to build lasting financial security and overcome decades of systemic discrimination in the housing market. The report also offers policy proposals to help close the homeownership gap.
We, the undersigned labor and community groups and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), write to urge you to take immediate actions, as outlined below, to repair and restore the NYS CDFI Fund to its intended purpose.
Yes! — With $10 trillion in assets at their collective disposal, big banks like Chase and Wells Fargo could do a lot of good. Yet, despite being “too big to fail,” these banks fail people every day. Whether it’s the persistent use of predatory practices, their enduring discrimination, or their insistent investment in exploitative and extractive industries, these formidable financial institutions have a corrosive influence on our country.
As low-income communities and communities of color across the state continue to reel from the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, this year’s budget presents an historic opportunity to make bold investments that will drive equitable local economic development for years, and even decades, to come. We urge both houses of the Legislature to allocate $100 million for the NYS CDFI Fund and $100 million in matching funds to help local governments capitalize public banks, and to adopt, as part of the budget, the NY Public Banking Act (S1762A/A8290), which creates a safe and appropriate regulatory framework for local public banks in New York.
With yesterday’s Executive Budget proposal, Governor Hochul had the opportunity to present a bold community economic development agenda that addresses long-standing racial and economic inequality that the pandemic has exacerbated. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, this budget proposal offers more of the same.
New York’s approach to economic development desperately needs a reboot. We spend billions of dollars annually on wasteful corporate subsidies and tax giveaways – in the process diverting much-needed resources from higher education, transit, health care and other investments that would advance equity and economic opportunity in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
Fresh off his electoral victory, Eric Adams declared that his administration will look abroad for policy solutions to New York City’s myriad social and economic problems. “Let’s learn what they’re doing there so we can do it here,” he urged.
It just so happens, there’s a broad-based citywide coalition pressing for a bold policy solution that is common throughout the world: public banking. Bringing public banking to New York, as a proven strategy for addressing racial and economic inequality, should rank among Mayor-elect Adams’ top priorities.
This afternoon the NYS Community Equity Agenda, a coalition of more than 40 community, labor, and civil rights groups, cooperative organizations, and community development financial institutions from across New York, released its policy priorities for 2022.
Our co-director Deyanira Del Río testifies before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions, and answers questions from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The next four episodes of Let’s Be Real focus on the NYS Community Equity Agenda, a statewide coalition that is calling for economic development that is community-led and grounded in community wealth-building and racial and economic justice. Each episode zooms in on an Equity Agenda priority, from promoting community-controlled financial institutions to ending wealth extraction throughout New York.