Equitable housing, workforce training, community benefit development and engagement, are all components that have brought me to the Green New Deal Housing table. These ingredients will bridge the gaps to tackling housing security, wealth resiliency and sustainability, with palatable and measurable doses intersecting energy conservation and climate mitigation. As I sample what is becoming more evident to sustaining our current lives on this planet, in our country, in our neighborhoods, and in our day to day lives, I look ahead to building solutions and strategies that will make a difference.
During the 1930’s in Columbus Mississippi my mother was born. Annie grew up in the country on a farm where her family worked as sharecroppers. Growing up here in Duluth, I watched her buy an HRA prefab home and remember how proud she was and how it made me feel more secure as a teenager. II am not sure if at the time she realized the economic resiliency she created for herself would reverberate, cutting the ties of generational poverty for me, my children, and my grandchildren.
Generational poverty was set forth by policies, practices, and procedures creating gaps in wealth building, leaving many pondering, where is my opportunity to be included in the promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Without a doubt, many heritages and ethnicities have made a difference, yet the true stories of people who look like me are not told with authentic narratives as to the human capital and historical economic value that shaped the union of states that were united in America.
Home ownership can create wealth, safety and security. I own a home in part because my mother owned her own home and now my children and their spouses are home owners.
Home ownership can change the narrative, generationally, and help build economic sustainability for families and individuals, as well as improve community wealth and stability. It opens up doors and allows one to leverage that asset in many ways creating health and wellness.
Today, even still, homeownership and wealth are not ingredients in the melting pot for everyone. Green
New Deal Housing will make a difference and transform the lives of individuals, families and communities,
during a time when many are still waiting for their forty acres and a mule.
“A community will survive and prosper as a whole when we are all walking on even ground.”
Janet Kennedy is a lifelong Duluthian, Duluth District 5 City Councilor, founder of Healthy Alliances Matter, and a Board member of Green New Deal Housing.