OMB Director Donovan and Attorney General Lynch Discuss Barriers to Social Mobility

The Urban Institute hosted an event titled “Promoting Economic Mobility: Putting Evidence to Action for Communities” on September 14. The discussions focused on innovative strategies and successful practices that combat racial and economic inequalities, as well as identifying and overcoming institutional barriers that prevent socio-economic mobility.

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan spoke about the need to address institutional failures and stressed the importance for advocacy and action. Mr. Donovan expressed concern for the widening opportunity gap and highlighted high housing costs as a key issue in preventing economic mobility.

Urban Institute Director of Urban Policy Initiatives Erika Poethig and the D.C. Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity Courtney Snowden engaged in a lively dialog about the systematic exclusion of minorities from sharing in the economic growth in Washington, D.C. Ms. Snowden emphasized the need to combat gentrification in Washington’s oldest and increasingly expensive neighborhoods. The displacement of long-term residents and businesses from these neighborhoods keeps low-income minorities from sharing in new economic opportunities. Ms. Snowden emphasized the need to measure the socio-economic impact of minority displacement and to focus Washington’s resources on protecting low-income residents.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch spoke about racial injustices and the need to actively overcome societal barriers that prevent minorities from climbing the economic ladder. Ms. Lynch stressed the importance of providing a second chance to citizens returning from incarceration. She praised HUD for working with the Department of Justice to provide housing assistance to justice-involved individuals and expressed a desire to continue building on that partnership as criminal justice reform is formulated and implemented.

Watch the archived webcast at: