On November 13, 2008 I posted a Blog about The Obama Administration’s Housing Policy and its impact in Chicago. As a candidate he had bold plans and as President-Elect he did not sway from these plans and spoke about American Renewal and putting in place an Urban Affairs Department that reported directly to the President.
A lot has happened since then… economic crisis coupled with job losses and shrinking accounts; well you know. Is there any hope of creating such a department with so much going on in our country?
The answer… YES! On February 19, 2009 President Obama announced the establishment of the White House Office of Urban Affairs.
Kind of nice to see hopeful plans executed. The Urban Policy Agenda outlines a comprehensive approach where attention to all aspects of living in an urban setting are addressed. To quote the President “Our job across America is to create communities of choice, not of destiny, and create conditions for neighborhoods where the odds are not stacked against the people who live there.”
As I read through it, the one word I can use to describe it is INNOVATION.
How does this matter or tie into the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or his latest on Home Owner Stabilization? It’s one and the same. Many communities and families in our city have been negatively impacted by foreclosures. The Act addresses foreclosure; in fact the Recovery and Reinvestment Act Overview is quite similar to The Urban Policy Agenda.
The President also appointed two key people to the posts; Adolfo Carrion Jr. was Bronx Borough President as Director of Urban Affairs and Derek Douglas as Special Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs. Mr. Carrion Jr. has been quoted as saying "We can't keep throwing money at a housing policy that concentrates poor families in massive housing projects and hope for the best. We can't keep wishing kids into success by simply declaring that no child will be left behind. We must stop treating the poor as laboratory subjects that we tinker with in our pricey think tanks and universities."
I am looking forward to seeing how all of this takes shape; will we see it, or one day say, “Wow things are different and for the better.” Only time will tell.
American cities are places where the exchange of ideas adds to American prosperity. It is more than being a “Shiny City on a Hill” it is; an Innovative City, A Diverse City, and A Livable City.
For my friends in Rural America, there is also a Rural Agenda. It addresses Upgrading Rural Infrastructure, Support of Small Business Development and a Strong Safety Net for Family Farmers. A strong Rural America is a strong backbone, foundation.
Let us know if the either Agenda is comprehensive enough for you. What would you like to see added to it? Don’t be shy and TELL US!