Housing News Roundup: April 14, 2016
Local Culture of Health Can Narrow Life Expectancy Gap
The gap in life expectancy between the top 1 percent and bottom 1 percent of income earners grew wider between 2001 and 2014. Yet, in some metro areas, low-income Americans have life expectancies similar to those of middle-income individuals in the area. Study researcher and Stanford University economist Raj Chetty says the findings suggest that addressing income inequality in general will not extend the life of low-income individuals; more localized examination of the contributors to life expectancy gaps is needed. One area that saw improvements in life expectancy for the poor was Birmingham, Alabama, which has instituted a number of small changes that are “trying to establish a culture of health and get it more and more on the radar screen of our community,” according to Dr. Mark E. Wilson, chief executive of the county’s health department. “What improves health in a community? It includes wide access to social, educational, and economic opportunity,” says Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Source: New York Times
Survey Identifies School Concerns of African American and Hispanic Parents
African American and Latino parents are concerned about school funding, according to a survey conducted by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. The survey sample was approximately 800 parents of schoolchildren, with about half of the sample African American and the other half Hispanic. Despite favorable opinions about their children’s individual schools, African American parents think their children do not receive an education comparable to what whites receive. Latino parents with children in low-income schools expressed similar concerns. Among both groups of parents and across income levels, most reported thinking that schools in majority-minority or low-income neighborhoods do not receive the same funding as schools in majority-white or higher-income areas. The Leadership Conference intends to use the survey to start a dialogue “about education policy, one that’s inclusive of communities of color,” says Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Source: Huffington Post
Drinking Water Contaminated by Lead in Newark Schools
More than half of the schools in the Newark, New Jersey, school district have tested positive for high lead levels in drinking water. The school district, which serves a majority African American and Hispanic population, has been under state control since 1995 due to concerns about crumbling infrastructure and weak academic performance. “The lead problem is just a symptom of a crumbling, neglected school system that desperately needs more attention,” says Joseph Della Fave, executive director of the nonprofit Ironbound Community Corporation. If passed, a new state bill would require all schools to test their drinking water for lead.
Source: The Atlantic
Jobs Program Targets Public Housing Residents
The Jobs Plus pilot program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is authorized in ten cities, puts workforce centers inside public housing communities through a partnership between HUD and local workforce development agencies. At one of the participating sites in St. Louis, the average household income is $7,200 per year. The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) runs the local Jobs Plus program and hires and trains community residents to engage residents and serve as coaches. “We’re using [it] to spring those individuals into training or employment so they can actually improve their skills and go to work,” says Stacey Fowler, adult services/special projects manager at SLATE. In addition to assisting fellow residents with job coaching and support, two of SLATE’s coaches have used the coaching job as a springboard to other employment. According to Sparkle Burns, a community coach currently interviewing with a large accounting firm, “Jobs Plus has given me the foundation to think about the future and go for big goals.”
Source: Next City