American prosperity has always been built upon the backs of immigrant labor. People can feel different ways about this subject, but no matter which way you put it, immigrants have been critical to filling labor gaps for as long as we can trace the history of this country. Today, there is no denying that we are facing major labor shortages and it is impacting ALL of us. It is increasing the prices for goods and services, and it is impacting our bread and butter: new home construction.
It’s official, the U.S. Census Bureau’s homeownership data is out for 2021. Before we go any further, the Latino homeownership rate as of 2021 is 48.4%. In case you missed it, here is the press release we sent out last week with our response to the new numbers. So, let’s break it down. I know you might be asking, is this a good thing or a bad thing? The not so simple answer is, it’s both. Here is what you need to know about the new homeownership numbers.
Before immigrating to the U.S., my dad was a teacher in Mexico. For the first few years he was here, he was working in the fields of Central California picking celery, hustling every day. He would do any random job he could get his hands on, from washing dishes and waiting tables to washing cars, until one day someone asked him if he knew how to cut trees. Of course, he said he was an expert and had been cutting trees all his life (he had never cut a tree in his life). He borrowed a truck from my uncle, rented equipment, and was at the lady’s house the next day ready to work and “figure it out”.
I’ve always loved learning about history, and I still do. It’s identifying those key moments, events, and people who created a bend in the timeline of history, altered daily life, impacted a course of events, or changed our values. As a kid, I always wondered if the people who were witnessing these historic moments in real-time even knew they were what I like to call “life-bending” moments.
The NAHREP Policy Department is currently working long hours to make sure the State of Hispanic Homeownership Report is ready by March 2022. A critical component of the report is the annual list of policy priorities that serves as the basis for our advocacy work for the rest of the year. While these priorities focus on national advocacy, a critical component of our policy priorities is actually local.
We haven’t done any wonky terms of the week in a while. So, in light of it still being January, the month of the year when we are still gung-ho about self-improvement, I thought we would focus on our financial health and the power of stock market investments. NAHREP 10 Principle #5: INVEST AT LEAST 20% OF YOUR INCOME IN REAL ESTATE AND STOCKS because they are the best and safest ways to build wealth (investing in other businesses does not count). If you read the State of Hispanic Wealth Report, you’ll see that Latinos are driving homeownership growth and are increasingly becoming real estate investors. However, Latinos are less diversified in their assets today than they were prior to the housing crash!
Like most of you, I spent this past weekend thinking about my New Year’s resolutions. I know I’m not alone in including “working on my health” as one of them. But my decision this year was to think about health beyond the traditional “working out and eating less processed food.” I want to think about getting healthier as moving, exploring, and just plain LIVING. I want to go on more hikes, and run and rollerblade by the ocean. I want to swap gym visits for dance parties in my garden. I want to swim more and skip around. A slight change in mindset, as all of you know, can lead to seismic changes in results. Thinking about my health as living and moving makes it much more exciting to me.
As we’re all getting ready for “Noche Buena” tomorrow, I thought I would share some of my own reflections from this past year, hoping to hear some of yours in return. This has nothing to do with politics, policy, or advocacy. Just a few of my own personal takeaways from this past year.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the national labor shortages. Many have blamed the extended unemployment benefits and are quick to think that people might be “too lazy” to go back to work after receiving COVID-relief benefits. However, I challenge you to consider this: An unprecedented amount of people, particularly young people, have started their own businesses over the past two years.
Recently, some of our NAHREP leaders were asked: “How would you describe NAHREP to elected officials?” I think the most important thing to remember in answering that question, is that when you describe NAHREP to elected officials or to any community leader in general, it is important to establish what we are, what we stand for, and why we matter in 30 seconds.