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This report offers evidence as to why rent control is a sensible and necessary strategy to address the renter crisis, describes the benefits of rent control, and shares policy recommendations to bring rent control to our communities.
Businesses owned by people of color create jobs and build wealth in communities of color. Yet despite rapid growth of entrepreneurship among people of color and women of color in particular - these businesses face significant barriers to growth and success. Government spending on construction, goods, and services is a potential opportunity to advance economic inclusion, but municipalities often under-contract with businesses owned by people of color. In Shelby County, TN, for example, only 6 percent of county contracts went to Black-owned companies, despite the fact that the county itself is 53 percent Black, and Memphis, the largest city in the county, has the second highest rate in the country of Black-owned businesses, at 56 percent. The reasons why local governments have so often failed to provide fair contracting opportunities to businesses owned by people of color are many, ranging from outright corruption and nepotism with companies that are politically connected, to banal bureaucratic processes that smaller, understaffed, and overworked businesses do not have the time or ability to navigate; the vast majority of businesses owned by people of color are small businesses.
The nation's current economic model is broken. The problem is not just the recent economic downturn, as pressing and important as that has been. Over the past several decades, economic growth has slowed, racial and income inequality has spiked, and the middle class has withered. America needs a new strategy to bring about robust growth that is widely shared by all who live within its borders. The new growth model must embrace the nation's changing demographics, and make the investments needed to allow the next generation to reach its full potential. The United States is undergoing a major demographic transformation in which the racial and ethnic groups that have been most excluded are now becoming a larger portion of the population. By 2042, the majority of the population will be people of color.
Economic recovery is not returning to all communities equally: the unemployment rate for White workers is down to nearly 4 percent nationally, while the unemployment rate for Black workers is more than double that. This disparity in employment is not an anomaly of our current economy, but has been the persistent reality for people of color for decades. Repeated studies show that job seekers of color are far less likely to be hired than their White counterparts, even when equally qualified.
The first quarter of the 21st century may well be remembered as the period in which U.S. cities regained their footing, showed their resilience, and became drivers of economic innovation. All-In Cities, a new initiative launched with this report, offers tools and strategies to accelerate this process and ensure city success is sustained by deliberately baking in pathways for all to contribute and prosper, a crucial ingredient for "comeback cities." All-In Cities marks a continued effort to shift the narrative on racial inequality in America. We believe that dismantling persistent racial barriers and investing in the people of color who are the emerging majority is both the right thing to do and critical to securing America's economic future. Cities are ground zero for demonstrating this interconnectedness. Success in cities and the nation depends on the ability of people of color to be the leaders, innovators, workers, entrepreneurs, and creative problem solvers who can produce widespread prosperity for generations. This report, along with the All-In Cities initiative, focuses on the particular role of cities in moving toward an all-in nation. Large and small, urban and suburban, cities are where most people of color live and where the next economy is taking shape. They are where movements countering inequality and police brutality are capturing the public's imagination and propelling forward new policy solutions. And cities are where working-class communities of color are most able to be equal partners in creating innovative solutions.