Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Promoting Homeownership as Means to Financial Freedom

 Florida News Connection

Originally Posted: June 20, 2022

By: Trimmel Gomes

There's been little change in the homeownership rate for Black families in 50 years, so some lenders are rethinking their practices to make buying a home more a reality than a dream.

Research shows a 20%-30% gap between Black and white homeownership rates has persisted for more than 100 years, despite increases in Black homeownership in the mid-1900s. Among the many causes today include credit scores averaging around 649 for 60% of African Americans.

Jonathan Leysath, Jacksonville branch manager for Self-Help Credit Union, said they have adjusted their mortgage products to help boost equity in the lending process and be more lenient with buyers with credit challenges.

"The Equity Boost product can go all the way down to a 580 credit score with only a minimum borrower investment as low as only 1%," Leysath explained. "As opposed to like the FHA, which is 3.5%."

Leysath argued flexibility is important because many factors continue to block economic progress for Black individuals. They include the pandemic's negative economic effects and the burden of heavy student debt, which disproportionately affects people of color.

Another possible solution to building equity is for more financial institutions to provide similar programs to help people access more resources.

Crystal German, executive vice president of communications, development, policy and impact for Self-Help Credit Union, said finances often drive talks of disparities and wealth. She pointed out their goal is to create innovative and holistic programs to help people of color develop wealth through homeownership.

"I mean, this is about having a freedom," German emphasized. "And it may not be a physical freedom, but it is a financial freedom that allows people to live their best lives."

The Fair Housing Act passed in 1968, making it illegal for anyone to be discriminated against when renting or buying a home. Before the civil-rights legislation, many Black families were locked out of the opportunity to create generational wealth by purchasing a home and passing it down to their children.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Pandemic's Social Distancing Took Heavy Toll on FL Seniors

Florida News Connection

Originally Posted: June 17, 2022

Report Finds Higher Rates of Suicide, Drug Overdose

By: Trimmel Gomes

Older people across the country are dying from drug overdose or suicide at much higher rates now compared to a decade ago, according to the latest America's Health Rankings Senior Report from UnitedHealthcare.

The report found depression among seniors is up 9%, suicides have increased by 13%, and drug deaths among people over 65 have doubled in the last 10-12 years.

Joyceline Fliger, CEO of Elder Care Services, a community-based senior care provider in Tallahassee, said the pandemic only exacerbated the problems stemming from loneliness.

"And there's been additional studies that show that it is as bad for your physical health as smoking," Fliger pointed out. "In every program that we run, there is some component that addresses social isolation and making sure people aren't socially isolated."

While the report showed drug related death among Florida seniors increased by 58%, it also indicated there has been progress in the amount of funding for community supports, a lower prevalence of seniors accidentally falling, and higher numbers of cancer screenings.

Dr. Rhonda Randall, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare employer and individual, said social distancing was not easy for many at the height of COVID restrictions, but the toll was heavier for some who were already living alone.

"The risk of social isolation is measuring a lack of meaningful social connectedness among seniors," Randall pointed out. "Things that put you at risk are being never married, widowed, divorced, separated, living alone, living in poverty."

The data in the report also showed positive signs with improvements in flu vaccination, self-reported health status and oral health among seniors across the nation.

Both Randall and Fliger urged people to reach out to the older friends and relatives in their lives, and help them reconnect with their communities and activities.

#Pandemic's Social Distancing Took Heavy Toll on FL Seniors

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

June 21 Prayer Pod

 We all want to pray but sometimes we find it difficult to begin our prayer.  Many Pastors and Ministers suggest you begin your prayer by praying back God’s words from Scripture. 

These daily prayer PODs are constructed to help you in your prayer life. 

June 21 
Pray: Lord hear Your wordsMatthew 1:7. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; And he knows those who trust in him. 

Lord hear my request: (Say your needs, wants, fears, thanksgivings) -  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.