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Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion

Hood Robbing: Community Development in Detroit Discussion II

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Community Development in Detroit Discussion II featuring Raul Echevarria, Khary Frazier, and Yusef Bunch Shakur Tuesday, March 10, 2020, at the University of Detroit School of Architecture in the Peter Peirce Room.

Presented by Community Movement Builders, Detroit is Different, Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and the University of Detroit

In this discussion, I (Khary Frazier) framed information and questions to focus on the business (money) of community development.

My premise was many corporations are using the distressed status (perpetually marketed by media of Detroit) to leverage subsidies, tax relief, unchecked lending, and neglectful investment. In this talk defining these practices with Yusef & Raul was important.

CDFI’s (Community Development Financial Institutions) of Detroit have received over 182 Million dollars connected to the CDFI program that was established to assist housing, businesses, and non-profit organizations in community development. The CDFI program was started from the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (here is a link to the act that establishes CDFI’s surprisingly very thorough https://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/8000-5400.html). In 1996 the first Detroit CDFI monies from the US Treasury were sent to Shorebank receiving 3.75 million dollars. Here is an article by NYTimes as a brief overview of why Shore Bank failed (according to many financial analysts) https://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/23/business/23cncshorebank.html, many felt that the risks with homeowners were too much for Shorebank.

Currently, CDFI’s have no needed oversight but there is a third party ranking system developed by Aeris that many use to audit their effectiveness. Here is a link to the Aeris website: https://www.aerisinsight.com/ . CDFI’s can also receive funding from banks (like Bank of America) and foundations (like Kresge) in the form of investment and/or grants. Many banks pay for and submit the Aeris audit request to verify the livelihood and financial legitimacy of the CDFI (which I think is problematic because traditional lending has been so racist, here is a great book about the practice released last year: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Money-Black-Racial-Wealth-ebook/dp/B076526LW5).

Discussion on Community Development with Racial Equity and Healing. Hosted by Yusef Shakur and Khary Frazier

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Racial Healing and Equity in Community Development was a discussion held by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion led by myself (Khary Frazier) and Yusef Shakur. Tuesday, January 21, 2020, at the Urban Network (2433 Ferry Park Detroit MI 48208) we welcomed a small and impactful group of community-minded activists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and organizers.

Documenting this discussion naturally led to the realization that more will be needed. Facets of Community Development Block Grants, Community Development Financial Institutions, and Detroit’s polarizing Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance were all discussed. This introductory forum served as a way for Yusef Shakur to speak to the racism that has systemically incepted bias towards neighborhood residents. The value of property over people was explored in depth. Philosophy of coping with racism and planning beyond oppression is shared as well.

Questions asked:
In what ways should philanthropists and foundations partner in community development to build neighborhoods? How can residents hold these organizations accountable for racial equity?

In what ways should government and HUD be included in community development that is residentially and racially equitable? How can residents hold government organizations accountable for racial equity?

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