ECONOMIC MOBILITY & DEVELOPMENT
Our City needs to do its part to foster economic mobility and development. We need to assist families who suffer from generational poverty while also cultivating entrepreneurship and job development. That means connecting our residents to existing resources and providing those that aren’t offered but that are desperately needed.
We need to provide families living in poverty with:
Career Skills assessments.
Education and Vocational Training.
Workforce development (Resume workshops, interview roleplays, etc.).
Ongoing career guidance
Credit improvement programs
Home ownership counseling and courses
Financial literacy courses and ongoing guidance
Long-term planning by teaching them how to save for their retirement and their children’s college funds
By financially investing in these families and helping them escape generational poverty, we are placing them on a long-term path to home ownership, job stability, and changing the trajectory of their family for generations to come.
We also need to support our business community by:
Providing more city contracts to local business owners.
Cultivating entrepreneurship by connecting people to existing resources to build and manage local businesses.
Ensure that LGBT Business Enterprise (LGBTBE) businesses are eligible for the City of Charlotte's Minority Women and Small Business Enterprise Program (MWSBE). Doing so would allow them to be considered minority owned businesses and eligible for city contracts, along with the benefits of the program.
Being proactive about the way that we attract companies to Charlotte. Not every company is a good fit for our city. In doing so, we create incremental job opportunities for the residents of our city and provide a boost to our local economy.
The City has already taken a significant first step in proposing the Office of Equity, Mobility, and Immigrant Integration. Now, we must hold them accountable to become an economically equitable city that is no longer 50 out of 50 in the US.
COMMUNITY & POLICING
Unfortunately, officer-involved shootings continue to be a major issue in Charlotte. Merely talking about it will not bring forth the solutions that our community deserves. We need a strategic action-based approach to create a systemic change for our community and police. Creating an environment where every resident feels safe, regardless of the color of their skin has to be a priority.
Training: To create behaviors that will lead to safe communities for everyone in Charlotte, we must focus on consistent, ongoing training. All our officers should be required to go through racial equity training, ongoing de-escalation training, and crisis intervention training at least twice a year. Currently, only 700 officers have been trained on how to handle individuals with mental health or substance abuse issues. All 1,700 + officers must be trained in this critical skill.
Accountability: Training without accountability is time ill-invested. Our officers should be required to present training assessments. It is critical that every officer is held accountable to not only absorb the material but that they implement it every single day.
Changing the standard for the use of force: It is imperative that we review the standards for police use of force and make changes so that these tragedies don’t continue to happen. This needs to happen both on a department level, but also from a legal standpoint. As a City, we must redefine what the law means by ‘reasonable force’ when dealing with these cases.
In Charlotte, a family of 4 would need to make $59,597 annually to afford housing, along with their basic needs such as food, child care, and more. That number is higher for people with disabilities. We need more affordable housing units across our City, but there are plenty of things we can do while we manage the building and establishing of those units.
Housing vouchers: There are currently 13,000+ people in Charlotte on the Housing Choice Voucher waiting list due to limited Federal funding, and every day, the number of landlords who accept these vouchers is decreasing. We need to provide vouchers to more people and incentive landlords to accept them. We can do both of those things by using part of the Charlotte Housing Trust Fund. We could provide incremental vouchers to those on the waiting list and give landlords who accept them a tax credit based on the value of the property.
Use of land and placement: For us to create equitable communities we must be cognizant of where we are building and creating affordable housing units. Concentrated poverty is not the answer. To ensure racially and economically equitable schools, neighborhoods, and communities we have to make sure we’re placing new affordable housing across our City and using the City-owned land that’s available to us.
Supporting our residents: Families and individuals who are at 70% AMI or below should automatically qualify for the programs and resources that will hopefully be provided by the Office of Equity, Mobility, and Immigration Integration. I have a list of proposed services that could help put these families on the path to housing stability. Investing in the financial sustainability of the residents of Charlotte changes the definition of ‘affordable’ for many. To improve our affordable housing crisis, we must also focus on affordable living.
We need to provide immediate assistance to those suffering, provide them the long-term support and resources to escape their economic cycle, and build diverse price point communities across all of Charlotte which benefits everyone. In diverse communities, we find the social capital that is also necessary for solving our upward mobility issues.
For Charlotte to truly become a welcoming community, we must take the steps necessary to make every resident feels included. Our immigrant community is a critical part of our City, and we must make them feel safe, supported, and welcomed.
Accountability: Creating the Ad hoc immigration committee was a great start, but we need continuity and an ongoing committee that can maintain accountability.
Resources: Our City is full of valuable resources that many are not aware of. We need to bridge the gap between the City and organizations working for the immigrant community. We must be intentional in providing support to these organizations and ensuring that our immigrant families have access to educational services, career development workshops, education accreditation, legal defense, counseling, and H1-B and H2-B assistance, among many other critical necessities to improve their quality of life and ensure that they are maximizing their potential in our community.
Awareness and Advocacy: We can support our immigrant community by advocating for them at the federal level, and making sure they know their rights when interacting with law enforcement and Immigration enforcement. Supporting a ‘Know Your Rights’ campaign in partnership with local law enforcement and other organizations would be a first step in accomplishing that goal. Additionally, we must add comprehensive immigration reform to our City’s Federal Legislative Agenda.