Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET)

Has COVID-19 Created a New Jim Crow?

by Anne Segrest McCulloch, Social Impact CEO

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I’m from the Deep South and old enough to have witnessed firsthand the creation of segregation academies. Those were the private schools founded in my native region by white parents in the mid-20th century to avoid having their children attend integrated public schools. Often they were created when the public schools were physically closed as a response to desegregation.

For the last many years, my family and I have lived in Virginia, the state once largely responsible in the 1950s for spawning the so-called “massive resistance” movement which quickly led to an emergence of these whites-only institutions and other measures sanctioned by states to disenfranchise Black Americans. …


by Anne Segrest McCulloch, Social Impact CEO

As a nation, we face a moral imperative: shelter-in-place orders today should not have the effect of soon denying shelter to Americans.

For the past 10 years, Washington has imposed a hidden tax on homeowners and renters so that it could keep the federal budget afloat. Every month, Americans paid their mortgages or covered their landlord’s mortgages by paying rent. That money flowed to and through two, giant, government-controlled utilities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — and directly into the U.S. Treasury.

It was an unfair transfer of wealth. And it’s time to pay it back. Why? Because the COVID-19 crisis is about to spawn a housing crisis that, as things are currently structured, we simply cannot manage without those funds. …


by Anne Segrest McCulloch, Social Impact CEO

For me, it comes down to a stark reality. Working households in America struggle to find affordable places to rent. That sad fact is the starting point for any discussion about housing and about our economy.

If the people who are the backbone of our economy can’t afford decent places to live, what then? When working families are living in cars, what does that say about all of us? When young people who are new to the workforce and working families with children have to compete, often unsuccessfully, for the same, limited number of housing units, what does that lead to? I think that the affordable housing crisis and the widening income gap that drives it has left families on both sides of the divide feeling powerless to address these obvious symptoms of a society in crisis. …


by Anne Segrest McCulloch, social impact investment CEO

I’ve worked for human rights and social justice all my life. The journey informs what I do now for a living: I run a social purpose real estate investment trust that creates better housing for underserved people. The need is staggering. Progress? Well, let’s say: steady. The need-progress ratio sometimes is a tough sell for the social impact investors who look to us as a way to put their money to work making a positive difference in the affordable housing crisis.

Recently I picked up a phrase that gave me a boost and helped me express what I’ve already learned over the years: better is good. In my heart, I wish for big, mountain-moving solutions to the big problems. Honestly, I wish the big problems would just go away. But they’re not going anywhere. So, along with many more people with similar intentions, I put my head down, get stuff done and follow my new, reality-based mantra. …

About

Housing Partnership Equity Trust (HPET)

The Housing Partnership Equity Trust is a social-purpose REIT that acquires and preserves affordable rental housing. www.hpequitytrust.com

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