DEVELOP ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Another major issue that Acclivus members and our partners will continue to fight for is the development of economic opportunity for community residents. With the exceptions of barber shops, beauty salons and faith-based institutions, the majority of businesses are owned by people who are not from the community. In far too many communities, there are numerous buildings, land and housing that are vacant. In some communities land and buildings have been vacant for more than 20 years. These are clearly communities without an economic plan that will benefit the community residents. Elected officials, business leaders and stakeholders should have a goal to create and maintain a strong, vibrant local economy that will benefit community residents. The plan should include jobs and businesses owned by people who are indigenous to the community.
Instead what is occurring is our elected officials are looking to opportunists who are looking to come to the community with thoughts of profiting from the community without investing in the community. Our communities need jobs and business opportunities both in the profit and nonprofit sector. Since having the burden of a criminal record makes obtaining and maintaining stable employment difficult, there should be a special emphasis on business opportunities for former prisoners. There needs to be a comprehensive project designed to train and support ex-prisoners in establishing and maintaining their own small businesses that will support them and their families.
The economic development plan should be able to support maintaining high quality education from community schools. Schools that provide an inferior education are a precursor to a lifetime of troubles in the labor market for community residents. Housing including public housing should provide an attractive and safe dwelling for living for youth, adults, families and seniors.