MReport December 2020

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40 | M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST ORIGINATION Spotlight on Affordable Housing Caliber's Sanjiv Das and former President Bill Clinton discuss "inclusive recovery." T he Bill Clinton Foun- dation has launched a virtual conference series titled "Build- ing an Inclusive Recovery," in which former President Bill Clinton speaks with change- makers aiming to address racial and economic disparities in the wake of COVID-19. In the second installment of the series, "Affordable Housing and (Re) Building the American Dream," Clinton discusses the challenges that communities of color face regarding affordable homes. Also discussed is building generation- al wealth through homeowner- ship and what solutions could help with the lack of opportuni- ties for minorities in housing. The Clinton Foundation part- nered with Caliber Home Loans and The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth to bring housing industry leaders and politicians to discuss this latest video conference. Clinton first spoke with Caliber Home Loans CEO Sanjiv Das and the Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Clinton started the discussion by addressing how the disparity in wealth along racial lines has been a nationwide issue long before the coronavirus pandemic and its resulting eco- nomic downturn. "If we have any hope of closing the racial wealth gap, which even before COVID-19 had widened to the point where the median net worth of white households was 13 times larger than Black house- holds and10 times larger than Latino households, we'll have to close the homeownership gap," Clinton said. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms discussed how affordable housing had been a struggle in Atlanta for decades. Mayor Bottoms said that Maynard Jackson, the first African American mayor of Atlanta, wrote in his biography about the need for affordable and workforce housing in Atlanta in the 1970s. "It's been fascinating to me that this is still a challenge for us," Bottoms said. COVID-19 has exacerbated the issue of affordable housing in Atlanta. However, the city has taken measures toward helping alleviate some of the stress on Atlanta households through rental assistance programs and halt - ing evictions for public housing. Mayor Bottoms emphasized that it would take more assistance to address the problem of affordable housing. "What we have found in these discussions that happen inside of City Hall and inside these boardrooms really needed to be amplified to our communities," she said. "One hope is to relieve anxiety, but also to let people know that there are resources available that can help get them through the pandemic." Sanjiv Das, CEO of Caliber Home Loans, echoed the need for more information and educational resources for minority homeown - ers. "We've spent a lot of time in the last six months, just educating people about what opportuni - ties are available to them, what forbearance programs are available to them so that we can help them stay in their home," Das said. Das added that "foreclosure is not good for anybody" and that Caliber Home Loans has made a point of "not counting how many loans we saved, but how many homes we saved." In the second session of the video conference, former President Clinton spoke with former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro, as well as Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) president and CEO, Maurice A. Jones. "The federal government has a huge opportunity to be a stronger, more robust partner with a lot of great initiatives that are already going on, on the ground," Jones said about helping renters. "We've got the ability to reposition real estate all over the country, to bet - ter serve homeless folks, to better serve people who are at 60% of their area median income or 80%." Regarding homeownership and bridging the racial wealth gap, for - mer HUD Secretary Julián Castro discussed how homeownership continues to feel like too much of a risk for many Americans. "I still believe that homeown - ership is a worthy, laudable goal," Castro said. "When I got to HUD as Secretary in the summer of 2014, when I got there during this period, we were just climbing out of the Great Recession. Things had stabilized to a large extent, but there was this reflexive hesi - tancy to embrace homeownership because of the housing crisis that we've gone through." Former President Clinton con - cluded the session by calling for all changemakers in the housing industry, both industry leaders and politicians across the political spectrum, to come together to continue finding ways to rebuild the American Dream of home - ownership. "If we're going to go forward together, we've got to have not just political inclusion, but economic inclusion and social inclusion," Clinton said. "And it can't just be a slogan for a day or a week or an election. It's got to be a way of doing business with your neighbors, and with the community, and the country at large."

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