Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan is running for New York City mayor and released his racial equity plan Wednesday.
Donovan has experience dealing with a recession as he became the housing secretary in the midst of the 2008 housing crisis and the great recession. Donovan was a pivotal figure in former President Barack Obama‘s cabinet, getting the country back on track. He also served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget under Obama from 2014-2017.
Donovan’s racial equity plan will focus on three goals. Ensuring an equitable COVID recovery. Applying an equity lens to the way the city is governed, establishing the infrastructure to set and meet goals and pursuing equity-focused policies as part of every platform.
To ensure an equitable COVID recovery, Donovan will shift vaccination efforts to communities that need it the most. That includes NYCHA developments, retirement communities and senior centers. Donovan will also make an effort to reach those who do not speak English with advertising and signs
Using vaccination sites, Donovan will also attempt to get more New Yorkers signed up for health insurance and connect them to primary care physicians to identify and treat underlying conditions. The plan includes expanding insurance at the federal and state level and supplement coverage with a city-level option.
The pandemic exposed significant inequalities minorities face every day. Especially economically. BIPOC residents in the city lost jobs faster and ran out of savings faster.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the deep inequities that have long existed across our country and right here in New York City. One of the reasons that communities of color have been so devastated by this virus is because of the myriad of injustices that pre-date the pandemic and are baked into the very fabric of our society. From healthcare to housing, the folks who were most vulnerable before this crisis, have been disproportionately impacted by it and will undoubtedly need the most help as we turn towards recovery,” NYC Donovan said in a statement. “However, simply returning to normal is not good enough. We must rebuild our city with a keen eye towards equity and reimagine a New York City that works for all New Yorkers.
Donovan’s equity plan calls for him creating a chief equity office. He will also appoint a chief equity officer that will lead the department in integrating racial equity standards into all operations, services and projects and services in the city.
The chief equity officer will be tasked with setting the tone for making the city more inclusive, and leveraging city funding to bridge the wealth gap and ensuring all New Yorkers have a shot at success.
Racial equity means more than just the workplace. Donovan’s plan will use tools that already exist like the city’s non-emergency 311 system along with data to identify which communities need the most help in specific areas such as health infrastructure, business and recreation.
The ability to build generational wealth is also an important feature in Donovan’s racial equity plan. Through his Equity Bonds Plan, Donovan would provide $1000 to every child in the city. That would be followed by an annual $2000 every year until the child turns 18.
Under this program, a child born in poverty will have roughly $50,000 waiting for them when they finish high school. This money has the potential to support a child through college or to follow their dream of starting and running a business.
Job creation is paramount to the economic recovery of the city. Donovan will create 500,000 jobs for New Yorkers within his term by creating the largest skills-based training program in the country. An apprenticeship program will also give those in the program a chance to gain real-life experience in their area of focus.
Donovan’s plans include education, housing, a smarter and more reliable transit system and an open streets initiative.