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New Guide for African Americans to the Economic Stimulus Plan

Black America Web.com, News Report, Michael H. Cottman Posted: Jul 07, 2009

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation has prepared a resource guide -
www.cbcfinc.org - for African Americans to learn more about the President Barack Obamas economic stimulus plan and how it impacts black communities across the country.

The economic impact from the current recession on African American communities is huge, Dr. Marjorie Innocent, director of research for the CBCF, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

The document provided by the CBCF highlights some of the major provisions within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that relates to African Americans in areas of employment, housing, and health care.

"CBCF fully supports [the package] because it provides vital resources for improving the circumstances of African Americans and all Americans who have been disproportionately affected by the current economic crisis," said Elsie L. Scott, president and chief executive officer for CBCF.

"Our guide allows readers to quickly reference where funding is going for education, health, economic development and social welfare all areas that can stimulate and boost the economy by creating and saving jobs in the private sector," Scott said.

A major source of job opportunities will come from training programs and projects, CBCF officials said. For example, $16.8 billion is allocated for energy efficiency and conservation block grants, including funding for
Weatherization assistance, $636 million for business loans programs and $50 million for YouthBuild to provide disadvantaged youth with education and employment skills, youth development and training activities.

"One of the most important aspects of the Act is that it is intended to quickly disburse funds to revitalize and improve our most economically vulnerable communities," said Alana Hackshaw, Ph.D., and author of the guide.

"This represents a major step forward for many in African-American neighborhoods. With the federal agencies working with those who are responsible for urban policies and the system of transparency and accountability among states and local communities in order to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of funds, we can begin to turn the economy around," she said.

Some of the reports findings include:

Almost a quarter of the African-American population in the U.S. is
living in poverty.

In March 2009, the unemployment rate among African Americans was 55 percent higher than the national rate and African Americans had the highest unemployment rate of all racial/ethnic groups. The recession has been especially devastating for black men, who have seen nearly a 9 percent rise in unemployment since November 2007.

The economic status of African-American families has been threatened due to the subprime lending crisis as many have lost their homes or currently face foreclosure.

Many African Americans continue to face an affordable housing crisis in communities with quality schools and services

In education:

Schools serving African-American children often lack the money, qualified teachers, textbooks, and other instructional materials needed to serve their students.

Black students are more likely to attend schools in communities with high concentrations of poverty.

Although the college enrollment rates of African Americans are about the same as White students, African Americans are not completing college at the same rate. A college degree attainment gap remains between African Americans and Whites.

In Heath care:

Poor African Americans do not have regular access to quality health care which is critical to maintaining good health, preventing disease, and managing chronic illness.

18% of African Americans under 65 are without regular health insurance.

The leading causes of death among African Americans are heart disease, cancer, and stroke, respectively.9 In 2005, death rates for the black population exceeded those for the white population by 46 percent for stroke, 31 percent for heart disease, 22 percent for cancer, 108 percent for diabetes, and 782 percent for HIV disease.

Health institutions that serve African Americans are more likely to have fewer resources.

The guide says that billions of dollars will be allocated in the months and years to come to address critical issues in black communities.

In some areas, its already started, said Dr. Innocent, adding that the economic stimulus package will help black Americans get their financial lives together.

Related Articles:

New CBC report may give peek at Obama's agenda

How Stimulus Money Is Really Spent

California May Forfeit Stimulus Funds

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