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    by Published on 09-19-2022 03:58 AM

    President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves Emergency Declaration for Puerto Rico | site |



    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 18, 2022

    Washington - - FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to supplement the Commonwealth’s response efforts due to emergency conditions resulting from Tropical Storm Fiona beginning Sept. 17 and continuing.

    The President’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population and to provide appropriate assistance, to save lives, to protect property, public health and safety and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 78 municipalities in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

    Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75% federal funding.

    Robert Little III has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Additional designations may be made at a later date.




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    by Published on 09-17-2022 04:32 AM

    Racial Differences in Economic Security: The Racial Wealth Gap | site |


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    Information contained in U.S. Department of the Treasury featured stories release article dated: September 15, 2022




    September 15, 2022


    Racial Differences in Economic Security: The Racial Wealth Gap

    By: Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy Benjamin Harris and Economist Sydney Schreiner Wertz

    This summer the Treasury Department initiated a blog series focusing on economic issues surrounding racial equity. This post is the second blog entry in this series, focusing on the racial wealth gap as a key component to assessing economic security. Indeed, racial differences in household wealth are some of the most visible and impactful manifestations of racial inequality in the United States. Unfortunately, as we describe below, racial wealth gaps continue to persist—threatening the economic security of impacted families and weakening the economy as a whole.


    THE IMPORTANCE OF WEALTH FOR ECONOMIC SECURITY

    Wealth is defined as the total financial value of what an individual or household owns (assets) minus all debts (liabilities). Assets include the value of a home and other physical assets, retirement savings, other financial investments, cash, and money in the bank. Liabilities include home mortgages, auto loans, credit card debt, student debt, and other types of debt and money owed. Wealth is distinct from income received from working or investments. Households can turn income into wealth by saving or investing.

    Wealth is essential for economic security because it can be used for consumption, which is directly connected to wellbeing. Wealth is also a resource households can draw from in times of economic hardship, enabling them to smooth consumption over time despite temporary income loss or instability. Moreover, wealth is necessary for individual economic mobility and growth of the economy as a whole. Wealth gives households the ability to pursue an education, take employment or investment risks, move to new neighborhoods, buy a home, and start a business. The ability to take these risks and be resilient to economic shocks has positive spillovers to the entire economy.

    Research indicates that there are long-lasting advantages of wealth accumulation for families. For example, there is a strong correlation between the wealth of parents and their children,[1] in part because intergenerational wealth transfers make up a substantial share of total wealth.[2] Empirical evidence also shows that gains in household wealth increase the probability that children enroll in[3] and graduate from college,[4] which increases their lifetime earnings from employment.[5] These findings call attention to the generational benefits of wealth accumulation and the harms that come from its absence: family wealth boosts future wealth potential, and low-wealth families struggle to progress without it.

    Furthermore, the benefits of wealth extend beyond economic security to health and psychological well-being. Negative wealth shocks have been shown to significantly reduce physical and mental health and survival rates among elderly adults, with psychological stress stemming from wealth loss as a key mechanism.[6] Wealth may also affect health through access to the high-quality healthcare it affords.


    RACIAL WEALTH GAPS TODAY AND OVER TIME

    The fundamental importance of wealth for economic security and general wellbeing makes the large disparities in wealth by race a serious concern for the economic health of families and the U.S. economy as a whole. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis find that the median white family had $184,000 in wealth in 2019 compared to just $38,000 and $23,000 for the median Hispanic and Black families, respectively (see Figure 1). Moreover, their analysis shows that the median wealth gap between white and Black families has hardly changed over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, the gap between white and Hispanic families has improved slightly, but it remains large.[7]


    (For better view, click graphic and enlarge it)


    Notes: Figure shows median family net worth by race. The “other” category contains Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, and multi-race households.


    Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, 2019

    Several key contributors to the racial wealth gap are racial differences in home equity, financial assets, and income, all of which are necessary for economic security in their own right and because they facilitate the accumulation of wealth over time. In addition to differences in asset values and composition, differences in the amount and type of debt held by households contribute to racial disparities in economic security. In particular, the number of households with zero or negative net worth—debts that equal or exceed the value of assets—is large and varies by race and ethnicity. In 2016, nearly 20% of Black families had zero or negative net worth compared to 9% of white, 13% of Hispanic, and 14% of other race families.[8]

    Moreover, while the typical white household has more mortgage, vehicle, and credit card debt (which, in the first two cases, is due in part to the higher-valued collateral underlying the loan), the value of student loan debt was 30% higher for the typical Black household than for the typical white household in 2019.[9] This disproportionate burden of student loan debt suggests the important role educational debt relief can play in addressing the racial wealth gap.

    Concerningly, research indicates that, under current conditions, the racial wealth gap will continue to widen. Economists Ellora Derenoncourt, Chi Hyun Kim, Moritz Kuhn, and Moritz Schularick write in their recent paper on the evolution of the Black-white wealth gap, “In the absence of policy interventions or other forces leading to improvements in the relative wealth-accumulating conditions of Black Americans, wealth convergence is not only a distant scenario, but an impossible one.”[10] This research highlights the importance of structural solutions in reducing racial disparities in economic security. These solutions may include policies that seek to reduce discrimination and bias in the housing and labor markets, to better support households in times of financial distress, and to decrease gaps in access to retirement accounts or liquid assets. As Derenoncourt and her coauthors note, more research is needed to better understand what combinations of policies are most effective at reducing racial disparities in economic security.

    Research on this and other important questions related to the wealth gap requires better data on wealth and the differences in economic outcomes by race and ethnicity. Wealth is inherently difficult to measure, and race has become more challenging to measure over time as Americans are increasingly likely to self-identify as belonging to more than one race. In conjunction with more research, more high-quality, publicly available data are needed to help craft well-informed policy solutions aimed at reducing these persistent disparities.


    ADDRESSING RACIAL DIFFERENCES IN WEALTH WILL BENEFIT ALL AMERICANS

    The racial gaps in economic security in the United States are stark and have been exacerbated by policies that hinder people of color from building wealth. Moreover, inequitable policies and practices that prevent wealth-building by some groups have been shown to negatively impact economic security for all.


    More unequal societies are less likely to invest in public goods that enhance productivity, including education, infrastructure, public transportation, and technology.[11] Policies that address racial wealth disparities, therefore, have the potential to benefit all Americans not only by spurring economic growth but also through public investments that benefit everyone.

    As the United States becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, the persistence of racial wealth disparities has the potential to do increasing harm to all Americans. When a significant share of the population is unable to fully participate in the economy, private consumption and investment suffers, stifling GDP growth.[12] The basic economic premise that returns to investment exhibit diminishing returns suggests that the largest gains to our economic potential as a nation come from addressing disparities that hinder the ability of the least advantaged families to invest in their future.





    [1] Charles, Kerwin Kofi, and Erik Hurst. 2003. “The Correlation of Wealth Across Generations.” Journal of Political Economy 111 (6): 1155–1182.

    [2] Feiveson, Laura and John Sabelhaus. 2018. “How Does Intergenerational Wealth Transmission Affect Wealth Concentration?” FEDS Notes. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, June 1, 2018. https://www.federalreserve.gov/econr...0601.html#fig6

    [3] Lovenheim, Michael F. 2011. “The Effect of Liquid Housing Wealth on College Enrollment.” Journal of Labor Economics 29 (4): 741–771.

    [4] Johnson, Rucker C. 2020. “The Impact of Parental Wealth on College Degree Attainment: Evidence from the Housing Boom and Bust.” AEA Papers and Proceedings 110: 405–410.

    [5] Card, David. 1999. “The Causal Effect of Education on Earnings.” In The Handbook of Labor Economics, vol. 3A, edited by Orley C. Ashenfelter and David Card, 1801–1863. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    [6] Schwandt, Hannes. 2018. “Wealth Shocks and Health Outcomes: Evidence from Stock Market Fluctuations.” American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 10 (4): 349–377.

    [7] Our discussion focuses on differences between white, Black, and Hispanic households because the Survey of Consumer Finances, the primary data source used to analyze wealth, does not provide disaggregated data on Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native households. Statistics based on the “other race” category, which comprises households belonging to all of these groups, will mask the large variation in wealth across these groups and within the Asian racial category.

    [8] Dettling, Lisa J., Joanne W. Hsu, Lindsay Jacobs, Kevin B. Moore, and Jeffrey P. Thompson. 2017. “Recent Trends in Wealth-Holding by Race and Ethnicity: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances.” FEDS Notes. Washington: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, September 27, 2017. https://www.federalreserve.gov/econr...-20170927.html .

    [9] Hasan, Tashfia, Katherine Lucas McKay, and Joanna Smith-Ramani. 2022. “Disparities in Debt: Why Debt Is A Driver In The Racial Wealth Gap.” The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program, February 2022. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/wp-co...t_020722-3.pdf .

    [10] Derenoncourt, Ellora, Chi Hyun Kim, Moritz Kuhn, and Moritz Schularick. 2022. “Wealth of Two Nations: The U.S. Racial Wealth Gap, 1860-2020.” NBER Working Paper 30101.

    [11] Stiglitz, Joseph. 2016. “Inequality and Economic Growth.” In Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, edited by Michael Jacobs and Mariana Mazzucato, 134–155. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

    [12] Buckman, Shelby R., Laura Y. Choi, Mary C. Daly, and Lily M. Seitelman. 2021. “The Economic Gains from Equity.” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2021-11. https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2021-11 .





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    by Published on 09-16-2022 08:08 PM

    Federal Emergency Management Agency says FEMA is Hiring – Join the Kentucky Team | site |



    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 13, 2022

    Frankfort, Ky. - - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has an immediate need to fill temporary positions in Hazard and Frankfort to assist with recovery from the recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky.

    FEMA is looking for qualified candidates with diverse backgrounds to fill a variety of emergency management functions. Job Postings include positions in civil rights, external affairs, human resources, hazard mitigation and training.

    The temporary positions are for 120 days and may be extended, in 120-day increments, for a maximum 365-day appointment, based on the needs of the disaster.

    Kentuckians who wish to apply for these positions can go to usajobs.gov to learn more and submit their applications. Salaries range from $16.12/hour to $45.24/hour. Detailed information is provided for each position including pay and benefits.

    These job postings will close between September 22-27 or when the agency has received 200 applications, whichever is sooner. People who are interested in applying should do so as soon as possible. Applicants may be contacted via email, phone, or mail regarding the interview, hiring and selection process.

    For information on Kentucky’s recovery from the floods, visit fema.gov/disaster/4663 . Follow FEMA on Twitter at FEMA Region 4 (@femaregion4) / Twitter and at facebook.com/fema .



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    by Published on 09-15-2022 02:43 AM

    Federal Emergency Management Agency says Mobile Registration Center Opens in Perry County | site |


    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 13, 2022

    Frankfort, Ky. - - FEMA is operating a mobile registration center this week in Perry County to help Kentucky flood survivors who experienced uninsured losses from the flooding that began July 26. The center is in northeast Hazard, Ky. off KY Highway 476.

    Location:

    • Home Place Community Center, 24 Victor Road, Hazard KY 41701

    °Hours, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday, Sept. 17.

    FEMA representatives will be at the centers to help with applications for federal assistance and provide information about other disaster recovery resources.


    FEMA financial assistance may include money for temporary housing, basic home repairs or other uninsured, disaster-related needs such as childcare, transportation and medical, funeral, or dental expenses.

    It is not necessary to go to a mobile center to apply for FEMA assistance. Homeowners and renters may apply online at disasterassistance.gov , call 800-621-3362 or use the FEMA mobile app. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

    For an accessible video on how to apply for assistance go to FEMA Accessible: How to Register with Disaster Survivor Assistance - YouTube.

    Flood survivors who apply for FEMA assistance may be referred to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It is important to submit an SBA application so you can be considered for additional FEMA grants.



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    by Published on 09-15-2022 01:30 AM

    Federal Emergency Management Agency says Kentuckians begin Occupying FEMA Temporary Housing Units | site |



    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 12, 2022

    Frankfort, Ky. - - A little more than a month after historic flooding hit Eastern Kentucky, survivors who lost their homes are beginning to move into FEMA Temporary Housing Units. The units are being placed on private sites—when feasible—and in commercial parks. FEMA has leased spaces at available commercial housing sites located within the affected area.

    “Reaching this milestone, this early in a disaster, is a major accomplishment,” said Federal Coordinating Officer in Charge of Kentucky Recovery, Brett Howard “but this is just the beginning, we have more than 200 Kentucky families and individuals waiting for temporary housing solutions in five counties.”

    Myra Shird, Federal Coordinating Officer in Charge of Direct Housing added, “We’re off to a great start, but there’s still a lot of work to do before this housing mission has been completed.”

    Once a survivor moves into a FEMA temporary housing unit, they are required to do three things (every 30 days for owners and bi-weekly for renters):


    1. Demonstrate a continued need for housing assistance.

    2. Recertify their eligibility.

    3. Show they are making progress toward a permanent housing solution.


    FEMA has approved direct temporary housing assistance in five counties: Breathitt, Floyd, Knott, Letcher and Perry. This program makes available several additional short-term housing solutions to disaster survivors. Survivors who have applied with FEMA for assistance do not need to reapply to be eligible for Direct Housing. If a survivor has not yet applied with FEMA, they can do so by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov ; by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362; or downloading the FEMA mobile app available on iOS and Android. The registration deadline is Sept. 28, 2022.

    Survivors are asked to please stay in touch with FEMA as their plans and contact information change. When phone numbers or mailing addresses change, FEMA can’t reach you. So, after you apply for disaster assistance, you need to let FEMA know each time your information changes. Individuals and households may be eligible for different programs as they move forward with their recovery.



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    by Published on 09-13-2022 11:25 AM

    Federal Emergency Management Agency announces Free Rebuilding and Repair Tips in Clay and Floyd Counties
    | site |




    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 9, 2022

    Frankfort, Ky. - - As Kentuckians rebuild, survivors of the July 26 flooding can get tips and advice on how to rebuild stronger and safer against storms.

    FEMA mitigation specialists will be on hand in Clay, Floyd and Whitley counties to answer questions and offer home improvement tips and proven methods to prevent and lessen damage from future disasters. This information is geared for do-it-yourself work and general contractors.

    Mitigation is an effort to reduce the loss of life and property damage by lessening the impact of disaster. These mitigation specialists will be available Sept. 9, through Sept. 16, at the following locations:

    Clay County - R&S Variety and True Value Hardware – 100 Manchester Shopping Ctr. Manchester, KY 40962


    • Hours: 8 a.m.— 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.—2 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.


    Floyd County
    - Moore’s True Value – 13529 KY Route 80, Garrett, KY 41630



    • Hours: 8 a.m.— 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 8 a.m.— 6 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday; closed Sunday.


    From 8 a.m.— 3 p.m. on Saturday Sept. 10, specialists will be available in Whitley County at the MoonBow Eggfest - Sanders Park, 201 N. Main Street, Corbin, KY, 40701.

    Homeowners and renters in Breathitt, Clay, Floyd, Knott, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Magoffin, Martin, Owsley, Perry, Pike and Whitley counties can go online to disasterassistance.gov , call 800-621-3362 or use the FEMA mobile app to register for disaster assistance or look up the status of their disaster assistance application. If you use a relay service, such as video relay (VRS), captioned telephone or other service, give FEMA the number for that service.

    For the latest information on Kentucky flooding recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4663 and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FEMARegion4 .



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    by Published on 09-12-2022 11:16 PM

    Federal Emergency Management Agency says Floyd County Flood Survivors Can Now Be Considered for Direct Temporary Housing | site |



    Information contained in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) press release dated: September 9, 2022

    Frankfort, Ky. - - To assist survivors displaced by the July 26, Eastern Kentucky floods, FEMA has approved direct temporary housing assistance to Floyd County—bringing the total number of approved counties to five—including: Breathitt, Floyd, Knott, Letcher and Perry counties.

    This program makes available several additional short-term housing solutions to disaster survivors. However, it takes time to transport, permit, install and inspect these units, before they are available.

    The Direct Housing program provides three primary options:


    • Multi-Family Lease and Repair, where FEMA enters into a lease agreement with the owner of multi-family rental properties (i.e., three or more units) and makes repairs to provide temporary housing for applicants.



    • Temporary Housing Units such as a travel trailer or manufactured home; and



    • Direct Lease, which is leasing existing ready-for-occupancy housing not usually available to the public.


    Direct temporary housing takes significant time to implement and is not an immediate solution for a survivor's interim and longer-term housing needs. Additionally, not everyone impacted by the disaster will be eligible for direct housing. Therefore, it is important that partners at all levels – local, Commonwealth, other federal agencies, nonprofit and private sector organizations – work together to fill any gaps.

    Survivors who have applied with FEMA for assistance do not need to reapply to be eligible for Direct Housing. FEMA reviews applications to identify those with housing needs. If a survivor has not yet applied with FEMA, they can do so by going to DisasterAssistance.gov , by calling the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or downloading the FEMA mobile app.

    For the latest information on Kentucky flooding recovery, visit fema.gov/disaster/4663 and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/FEMARegion4 .




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