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Evans unveils plan for boosting business, home ownership


Mayoral candidate Malik Evans has released his Economic Empowerment Plan, which he said aims to, among other things, expand city job training and placement efforts, provide support to proprietors and entrepreneurs to expand or start businesses, and to boost the amount of city funding available to provide down-payment assistance to homebuyers.

Evans is seeking to unseat Mayor Lovely Warren, who is running for her third term, in the June 22 Democratic primary. On Monday, he laid out his Economic Empowerment Plan in front of Burgos Income Tax on North Clinton Avenue, near the Ridge Road intersection. He was joined by Albert Burgos, the business’s owner, and County Legislature candidate Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons.

Evans held out Burgos’s tax business as an example of the type of business the city needs to cultivate. It’s a business that’s grown and Burgos provides incubator space to fledgling businesses in his building, he noted.

“We want to make sure that we have a multitude of different businesses in our neighborhood because that leads to stable neighborhoods,” Evans said. He set a goal of attracting, growing, or creating 1,000 new businesses in Rochester over the next two years.

Evans added that businesses help build generational wealth because they can be passed down to family members.
  • To help with business growth and job creation, Evans wants the city to:
  • Expand job training and placement initiatives, which would be aided by a youth jobs proposal he released last month.
  • Provide support to small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them with things such as regulations, payroll, and financing.
  • Collaborate with businesses, labor unions, and educational institutions to prepare people to work in advanced manufacturing and skilled trades.
  • Work with the county and other partners to market the region as a good place to visit, live, and do business.

Evans intentionally refrained from calling those proposals a jobs plan. The city is dealing with a lot of connected issues, such as poverty, gun violence, which in turn limit the economic and wealth building opportunities for many residents, he explained. He previously released his plans for increasing youth opportunity and fighting the violence plaguing city neighborhoods.

Monday, Evans explained how those plans fit together with his Economic Empowerment Plan. Previously, when he rolled out his gun violence plan he noted that his Youth Opportunity Agenda will help address root causes of gun violence. On Monday, he noted that Rochester’s problems with violence, including recent incidents of police officers using force, sometimes fatally, can deter businesses from locating in the city.

The other half of Evans’s Economic Empowerment Plan focuses on helping residents build wealth and financial health, particularly by increasing home ownership. He noted that at 35 percent, Rochester’s home ownership rate trails national averages. The homeownership rate falls to 28 percent for the city’s Black and Latino residents.

“We have to increase home ownership in Rochester,” Evans said. “Why? Because that brings more stable neighborhoods. Why? Because that increases generational wealth.”

To boost homeownership and residents financial health Evans proposes:
  • Boosting the amount of money available for homebuyer grants and downpayment matching programs to as much as $5 million.
  • Working with banks and credit unions to help expand access to bank accounts, credit, and other financial services.
  • Partnering with philanthropic organizations and financial institutions to provide financial education to residents and to develop a program where low-income city residents can receive matching funds to help them build savings or invest in things such as retirement.
  • Bringing together landlords and tenants to develop a compact on quality housing and fair practices, and to increase education about rent assistance programs and rental property improvement.
Jeremy Moule is CITY’s news editor. He can be reached at [email protected].