Saying that homeownership is a key to building generational wealth, mayoral candidate Malik Evans wants to make it possible for more people who want their own home to be able to achieve it.
“At 28% for African Americans and Latinos in the city, that’s not good enough,” Evans said. “It should match the population or be higher.”
Expanding homeownership by working with financial institutions and increasing awareness of grants and matching programs is part of the economic empowerment plan Evans laid out during a news conference June 7 in northeast Rochester.
Evans said the plan is about more than jobs. “All this cannot be done in isolation. It’s all connected.”
The plan includes expanding job training and placement for youth and adults; supporting entrepreneurs who would create businesses that meet neighborhood needs; collaborating with business, labor and education on advanced manufacturing; bolster the arts and service sectors; and working with the county to make Rochester a destination for business.
As for homeownership, Evans said the city needs more single-family homes.
“But there’s also a demand for assistance with down payments,” said Evans, who works as a banker. “Regardless of your income, that is a barrier to homeownership.”
He said homeownership, besides helping families, helps the city by increasing the tax base, building stronger neighborhoods and strengthening community connections.
Evans said his plan also works with renters and landlords to develop a compact for quality housing and fair practices, and increasing education on rental property improvement and rent assistance programs.
Evans said he wants Rochester nationally known as a business destination, but the city’s reputation in other aspects precedes it.
In the past few months, Rochester has made national news for police-involved deaths of civilians, incidents of force where children were involved or were bystanders, and how it responded to subsequent protests. Several months ago Bob Duffy, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said at least one business changed its mind about exploring Rochester as an option because of the civic unrest.
Evans said a remedy is to change the culture of the police department from warrior to guardian. He also mentioned his plan to address the flow of illegal guns.
Incumbent Lovely Warren’s plan is in her Equity & Recovery Agenda, a report on the 2020-2021 state of the city.
She recently said she would propose legislation to City Council to increase construction goals to include minority and women owned business enterprises.
Evans said he favors increasing the number of MWBE. “But it is key that we give them the tools to be able to succeed. One of the challenges and the barrier to entry is sometimes access to capital. But even more importantly, to access to capital is access to mentors.”
Evans is chairman of City Council finance committee. He said of the mayor’s proposal, “If it’s good for the community, I’ll take a look at it. Absolutely. I’m not political like that.”