Black Men and Boys Commission Unveils Budget Proposal to Drive Equity in Boston
Today, the Black Men and Boys Commission unveils a focused budget proposal, strategically allocating resources to drive positive change for Black men and boys in Boston. The Commission's budget proposal spans across various city departments, encompassing the Office of Housing, Center for Working Families, Office of Workforce Development, Office of Youth Employment and Opportunity, Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion, the Boston Public Health Commission, and Boston Public Schools.
The proposed budget recommendations focuses on key themes that contribute to the city's overall well-being, crafted by the five subcommittees of the Commission:
- Economic Opportunity and Workers empowerment
- Affordable Housing and Pathways to Homeownership
- Public Health and Wellness and Fatherhood and Families
- Education and Youth Advancement
- Community Safety and Returning Citizens
In addition, the Commission holds a firm core value of equity and racial justice. The Commission's leadership has put forth several recommendations under this value, including incorporating budgetary support for the Office of Black Male Advancement (BMA), through an equity study and strategic planning. Furthermore, they propose that the funds from the well-known national program initiated by Former President Barack Obama—My Brother's Keeper Boston—be exclusively housed under the Office of Black Male Advancement.
“Our budget recommendations are informed and guided by meetings with the community, members of the Mayor's Cabinet, and specific stakeholders in this work. In collaboration with the Office of BMA, we look forward to seeing the budget priorities we have highlighted fully supported and integrated into this year's City of Boston Budget.” said Tito Jackson, Black Men and Boys Commission Chair. “Black male outcomes have lagged other communities, and we believe that these investments will do a great deal to close the gap.”
The budget proposal of $9.1 million dollars collectively demonstrates a comprehensive approach to fostering equity, economic empowerment, and wellness in Boston. In terms of economic mobility, a substantial allocation targets technical assistance for Black entrepreneurs within the Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion, aiming to dismantle barriers and promote sustainable economic success. Simultaneously, the most significant housing budget proposal involves issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a fund to provide pre-development capital for Black developers. An additional housing budget proposal requests an expansion of “down payment assistance for anti-displacement first generation homebuyers.” These budget proposals both align, and advance the city's housing initiatives, empowering Black professionals in the real estate sector and addressing historical disparities.
In regards to wellness, the Commission proposes targeted measures to address the health and family dynamics affecting Black men and boys in Boston. Recommendations include ramping up health equity education and outreach efforts, bolstering support for Black fathers through the Father Friendly Initiative, and increasing resources for substance abuse treatment and mental health support tailored to their specific needs. These initiatives underscore a commitment to fostering holistic well-being and familial engagement within the Black community.
“We commend the Black Men and Boys Commission for their diligent efforts, as advisors to our Office, in crafting these budget proposals,"” said Frank Farrow, Executive Director of the Office of Black Male Advancement. “We look forward to continuing to collaborate across city departments to advance the Mayor’s vision of equity into the fabric of our city.”
To review the detailed budget proposal, please visit this link.
Black Men and Boys Commission
The Commission was established through a 2021 ordinance and is made up of 21-Black males with experience, knowledge and expertise on issues pertaining to Black men and boys in the City of Boston. The Commission serves as an advisory board for the Mayor’s Office of Black Male Advancement.