Ensure Construction Opportunities for Minority Contractors – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Asm. Reggie Jones-Sawyer (file photo)

While the severe lack of affordable and affordable housing has hurt Californians everywhere, color communities are most affected. Black and Latin American households are burdened with rents much higher rates than white households and own their homes on more than 20% lower rates than whites.

In many cases, systemic racial inequalities that have contributed to these trends – including historical housing and bank discrimination and pay inequality – have also prevented various business owners from being able to secure contracts for construction, design, engineering and other housing construction. at affordable prices.

Even when California invests an unprecedented amount of money in housing to cope with our 2.5 million housing shortages, companies owned by people of color do not have fair opportunities to benefit from this investment.

Barriers to access to capital, stemming from entrenched and historical racism, leave various companies at a competitive disadvantage when working to secure funding and bid for contracts. Loan refusal rates for different companies can be 2-3 times higher than those of white companies and they often pay higher interest rates and are approved for smaller loans.

In order to improve racial and economic fairness in the possibility of concluding contracts stimulated by state investments, while scaling up the volume of companies needed to achieve the goals of affordable housing, public policies must deliberately increase and invest in companies owned and run by colorful people.

The lack of diversity in the affordable housing sector (and in the construction industry in general) is more detrimental than just companies that have been denied contracts. This has also led to less affordable housing in different communities, which in turn reduces opportunities for residents and contributes to lower levels of home ownership among blacks and Latinos.

Compared to construction and professional services companies owned and operated by whites, companies run by people of color are more likely to hire on-site and hire more diverse staff, which allows the money invested in these companies to return several times to the communities with the greatest need. Diversification of the pipeline by people involved in public investment in housing is a critical way to increase wealth in disadvantaged historic communities.

The removal of various companies and contractors also limits our ability to develop the housing that our state urgently needs. Feeding a variety of construction and professional services companies and ensuring their fair access to contracts and growth opportunities will help increase the amount of available companies needed to tackle the housing crisis.

Tunua Thrash-Ntuk (File photo)

Ultimately, raising the spirits of various businesses and workers will help our state increase the number of homes built in California faster, while giving financial entitlement to colorful communities that have long been closed from the road to upward mobility and prosperity.

This year, in partnership with these communities and the organizations that serve them, we introduced AB 2873, which will promote the diversity of providers in the affordable housing industry by requiring developers to share data on the demographics of suppliers. Having accurate and up-to-date data is the first step in making informed, deliberate decisions on how to overcome barriers to a fair economy and develop future policies that will increase the diversity of suppliers. These are necessary steps to ensure that businesses and businesses run by people of color have fair access to housing development opportunities.

As we continue to tackle our housing crisis, working for a more inclusive California will require more than just financial investment – we must deliberately direct a fair share of these resources to the communities that need them most.

This includes work to ensure that different companies in the affordable housing industry have fair and equitable access to these contracts and revenues. AB 2873 will pave the way for different companies in California to see equal, improved investment, redistribution of wealth to the communities most in need.

Assembly member Reggie Jones-Sawyer represents the 59th district of the assembly, including the neighborhoods of South Los Angeles, Florence-Firestone, Walnut Park and part of Huntington Park.

Tunua Thrash-Ntuk is the CEO and President of The Center By Lendistry, a non-profit organization that provides business resources for small businesses in underserved communities. She serves as a board member or advisory board to many organizations, including the Affordable Housing Council of the Federal Bank for Housing Loans in San Francisco, Housing California and the Greenlining Institute.

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