from American Progress:
People of color have been hit hardest by the current economic recession, both on the employment and housing fronts. And while there have been some recent bright spots in the employment numbers, there is still much work to be done.
Let’s begin with higher education. The president’s FY 2013 budget makes many investments that will directly benefit people of color. For the kids of color who rely on Pell Grants to help get to college, they will be happy to know that President Obama’s budget maintains the recent increases through the 2014-2015 award year. And for them and their parents, the president is proposing to make permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a partially refunded credit that’s worth up to $10,000 per student over four years of college.
At the primary and secondary school level, the president’s budget also invests money into grant programs that will help improve teacher programs at minority-serving institutions. Given the current lack of teacher diversity as noted in a recent Center for American Progress paper, this is a well-timed program.
This budget also delivers in the housing sector. To many Americans, owning a home was a basic part of the American Dream, and much of their personal wealth was tied up in their houses. This is especially true of people of color. And as Pew pointed out last year, the housing crisis helped cause some of the biggest wealth gaps ever seen. President Obama’s plan to help responsible homeowners stay in their homes will help not only individual homeowners but also the communities they live in by slowing down or reversing the neighborhood destabilizations that happen through multiple foreclosures.
And for those for whom the dream of owning a home remains far out of reach, the president put forth $19.1 billion to help extremely low to low-income families with rental assistance to help them live in better neighborhoods of their choosing.
Youth jobs are also a prime focus of the president’s budget, which is good news for people of color. Youth unemployment is a big problem in our country, and it’s an even bigger problem among communities of color. Recognizing that the only way to ensure a bright future is to prepare our youth, the administration is investing in a series of programs to help low-income and at-risk youth connect to the labor market. Proposals include a $12.5 billion Pathways Back to Work Fund and a Workforce Innovation Fund aimed at incentivizing states to either come up with new ideas or replicate proven strategies for delivering better employment results.