A report released by the Urban Institute found that Corporate America is primarily to blame for the African American homeownership rate hitting a 52-year low. The report states that BET founder Robert Johnson was correct when he said that black Americans are "being denied access to the American dream" through housing policies and practices perpetuated by banks and the government. It is now more critical than ever for black Americans to come together and demand change so that all people can access the opportunities they need to achieve the American Dream. Corporations own as much as 80% of the homes in some communities and subdivisions, and our government allows this to happen. Currently, it's legal for Coop and condo association boards across the country to deny access to rent or own to people of color and the LGBTQIA community. Veteran home loans and first-time home buyer loans are not competitive in today's market with (REITs) Real Estate Investment Trusts, Real Estate Brokerage Firms, and corporations purchasing all the affordable homes nationwide. In many cities, you have to work 2 to 3 jobs with the average salary to afford a one-bedroom apartment. In cities like NYC and Miami, you must have a 700 credit score and make 20 to 40 times the rent in income to qualify for an apartment.
It is no secret that the state of mental health in the Black community is in shambles. However, what is less talked about is how our socio-economic crisis is tied to it. Studies have shown that poverty can lead to chronic stress, affecting mental health. Lack of access to quality education, employment, PTSD (from television, the news, natural disasters, mass shootings, witnessing our friends and family lose their lives to Covid-19 ), transgenerational trauma, housing insecurity, and systematic racism contribute to our community's mental health crisis. We need to address these root causes if we want to make any real progress in improving the mental health of Black Americans.
Renters across the country complain that apartments are not lenient about wages lost during an epidemic. Mothers who could not work for various reasons were forced out on the street. It's disproportionately happening in black or brown communities where people have limited access to employment opportunities because of physical disabilities, which makes them unable to secure jobs even with high-level qualifications - layoffs happen more often than expected among different demographics, such as mothers who had been pregnant at some point too; those individuals then get evicted from their homes once again leaving many without any options left but homelessness.
The state of Florida and other states like it are not taking care of their elderly, disabled citizens the way they should. Not enough low-income housing or assisted living facilities are affordable to the average citizen. The state of Florida has a lawsuit pending because they denied people unemployment. Disability claims take three years as opposed to six months in some states. I have a family member who is completely disabled in Florida, and the court dates were pushed back three times due to clerical errors for the disability hearing. I had a friend who passed away while waiting on disability to get approved. Many people are being told to move to other states to get these benefits approved. This is an injustice that must be stopped. We must come together as a country and ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are taken care of. Let’s make sure no one falls through the cracks anymore.
We can solve the economic crisis by focusing more on bridging the digital divide in rural and low-income areas, by providing free training and jobs, abolishing practices that lead to unemployment, ending and preventing homelessness with tiny home communities, and teaching people about mental health in churches, community centers, schools, and at the workplace to make sure that no one falls through the cracks. We keep having discussions about stimulus payments. It's like the old proverb, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day." They have given us just enough to get by daily with low wages, unfair treatment, limited access to credit, and housing. We need not only for you to teach us how to fish so we can feed ourselves for a lifetime, but provide us with some ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans with some fish in them. We are tired of chasing waterfalls and the empty rivers and lakes that you are used to feeding us.
Despite the progress we’ve made over the past century, it is evident that redlining and other discriminatory practices are still taking place. The good news is that we have the power to stop these injustices from happening by using our voices and our wallets. We must hold those in positions of power accountable and demand change. Let’s work together to make sure everyone has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream and provide access to mental health resources.
Author, Military Veteran, Speaker, Thought Leader, Life Coach, Mental Health Advocate, Diabetes Education Advocate