Posts tagged with "RENT"

“The Tax Collector”

by Justin Lyons

2020 sure has been an interesting year for movies. We’ve missed our fair share of big releases, but here we are in September with a new film from David Ayer, a director who has seemingly taken nothing but criticism over the past half decade. Maybe some of that has been warranted, maybe some of it hasn’t, but here he stands with a new movie available for rent.

Ayer is re-teaming with Shia LaBeouf, whom he directed in one of the best performances of his career in 2014’s “Fury.” LaBeouf is past the point of only being recognized for the “Transformers” series. He’s truly one of the most gifted actors working right now, and this nice, little roll he’s found himself on since exiting Michael Bay’s billion dollar franchise has solidified him as a top tier talent.

He’s coming off a fantastic 2019 with “Honey Boy” and “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” so it was no surprise seeing him marketed as a co-lead in “The Tax Collector.” It was, however, a shock to see him in a supporting role in the film itself, and that’s the movie’s biggest problem.

It might be better said that the movie’s biggest problem is that none of the characters, aside from LaBeouf’s character, called Creeper, are very interesting. Each and every one is built upon a foundation that we’re familiar with, including those in other David Ayer movies. Their principles and motivations never sincerely stand out.

David, the main character played by Bobby Soto, drives around Los Angeles collecting a percentage of gang profits for his boss, a man called Wizard. He does it to protect and provide for his non-gang-affiliated family, who are in fact good. When Wizard’s ex-rival returns to town, dead set on taking over Los Angeles, David’s allegiances and strength are put to the test.

Again, we’ve seen that before, so viewing it again, in a mostly predictable manner that doesn’t make “The Tax Collector” stand out among memories of other gang movies and stories, doesn’t let it resonate. It never pushes for that emotional connection to the characters or story that I was looking for. Possibly the most unfortunate part is that there’s evidence of potential here. There is potential in these characters and in this world that makes me think there’s a decent movie in here somewhere, but it needed more time to give the characters the life and development they deserved.

The story itself also feels disjointed in an effort to develop the relationships with characters, even though those relationships don’t benefit from the sacrificing of story. Most beats, particularly toward the end of the film, seem to just happen without express purpose. There is a guiding narrative pushing David against the rival gang leader, but most events in the story don’t have the build up that I had hoped for. Things just kind of occur without any rhyme or reason. We have a character whom we’re supposed to immediately latch onto and a character whom we’re supposed to immediately hate, and none of the story beats ever allow the characters to breathe and change.

Each scene is also played at the highest possible level. Subtlety isn’t always a synonym for high quality, but constant high octane sequences never helped David’s character. Despite being a lover of action sequences, I found myself more intrigued by David’s moments with his family. He shows the struggle of balancing his roles as a protector and as a “tax collector,” but it’s never enough to round out the character.

It feels like Ayer is going through the motions, which is disappointing from a director who has obvious talent. He didn’t fall into the screenplay for “Training Day,” and he surely didn’t accidentally direct “Fury” and “End of Watch” with the skill and charisma of those films. That filmmaking talent is in there, but in going back to a story reminiscent of his earlier work, it appears he is recycling his own techniques. Even the visual look of the movie, which Ayer typically excels with, feels bland. He does pull a couple of visual tricks from his repertoire in flashbacks and high-intensity action sequences, but the flashbacks feel played out, and one specific moment of slow motion was enough to pull me out of a movie that appeared to go for gritty reality.

There are positives to take away from “The Tax Collector.” Again, Shia LaBeouf is immensely talented, and that shows in this film. Every single time he’s on-screen, it’s tough to look away. He does take a supporting role in the movie, but he steals the show right out of Bobby Soto’s hands. Some of that is due to the writing as Creeper is a far more compellingly written character than David, but LaBeouf commits so hard to every single word, and he’s an absolute blast to watch.

The scenes in which David and Creeper drive around Los Angeles, spewing mostly throwaway dialogue, are easily the most fun in the film. Creeper is the muscle of the duo, but I enjoyed his humanity. I have to credit LaBeouf because when Creeper is thinking, it’s easy to watch the wheels in his brain spin. He has these survival instincts, and he’s skilled with weapons and intimidation tactics, but he’s not a robot. He diets, meditates and wants to be included in David’s personal life.

“The Tax Collector” isn’t memorably bad. It’s just not memorable at all, and that is the most frustrating thing about the film. There is potential in the story, the characters and the story world, but it’s so easy to think of scenes that should have been cut in favor of scenes that should have been added. There’s also so much inspiration behind Creeper, but he’s not the focus of the film, which I think would have made the movie much more engaging.

There comes a certain point in the film where nothing is left to care about, and the story revisits a relationship that doesn’t feel earned. Had it spent more time developing that relationship, I might have been invested in the final act, but one short sequence and one small show of good faith wasn’t enough to make me believe that some of these characters would show the support they’re asked to show. Nevertheless, I’m happy to discuss Shia LaBeouf in a positive way. Maybe with that tattoo on his chest forever he’d be better suited in a similar role as a lead performer.

“The Tax Collector” is streaming now on Amazon.

Kaelen Felix illustrates eviction article for 360 Magazine.

EVICTIONS POSTPONED FOR NOW

By Althea Champion

The Trump Administration recently announced a new eviction moratorium, which took effect Sept. 4th and will last until the end of December. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention put forward the order, which is meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, rent will be due when the moratorium expires at the end of the year.

The order is expected to go much further than its predecessor, the eviction ban classified under the CARES act, which protected 12 million tenants in qualifying properties and expired July 24th. The new moratorium is expected to protect all tenants who do not expect to earn more than $99,000 this year or face other financial limitations, and prove they are eligible.

This protection is meant to prevent a devastating wave of homelessness, that of which will likely spread the virus, worsening an already dire situation in the U.S.

Tenants breathed a huge sigh of relief as the news broke. According to a survey conducted by the National Housing Law Project, 85% of respondents expected a dramatic surge in eviction cases once the moratoria expired. However, the bills of tenants are not evaporating. Rather, they are starting a tab kept by their landlords.

“This Order is a temporary eviction moratorium to prevent the further spread of COVID-19,” the order reads. “This Order does not relieve any individual of any obligation to pay rent, make a housing payment, or comply with any other obligation that the individual may have under a tenancy, lease, or similar contract.”

Rather, it simply does not allow a landlord or owner of a property to evict tenants from their homes during the four month period it is active.

Tenants need to apply as soon as possible.

“To apply for the new moratorium, tenants will have to attest to a substantial loss of household income, the inability to pay full rent and best efforts to pay partial rent,” reports Matthew Goldstein of the New York Times. “Tenants must also stipulate that eviction would be likely to leave them homeless or force them to live with others at close quarters.”

This moratorium does not offer financial assistance. Instead, renters and landlords will take on the debt as they continue living in and renting their homes.

“The eviction moratorium the CDC enacted works from a health point of view, but it dodges the fundamental question, which is, how are we ultimately going to pay for this?” said Doug Quattrochi, a small landlord from Mass. on PBS NewsHour. “Just putting temporary band-aids on isn’t going to work when we knew, at the start of this, we were gonna need stitches.”

Gabrielle Marchan illustrates Dianne Morales for 360 MAGAZINE

Dianne Morales

As of late, one of our team members had the opportunity to sit down with New York City mayoral candidate Dianne Morales for an interview. After eight years under Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City will see someone new in the position in 2021, and Morales, a member of the Democratic Party, is jumping at the opportunity.

360: What are the major points of inspiration throughout your life, so far, that have led you to where you are today?

Morales: At my core is a commitment to community, and I learned community at home. I am the youngest of three girls and the daughter of Puerto Rican parents. My mother, a secretary for the Leather Workers’ Union, and my father, a building manager on the waterfront, created a working-class life for us in Bed-Stuy. But our home was not just for me and my sisters. My grandmother, Mami, lived with us my whole childhood. In fact, she and I shared a bed until the day that I left home for college. Our home was a resting place, a layover, a transition point for whoever needed it. There was always someone new sleeping on the couch or joining us at the dinner table. Whether they had just arrived from Puerto Rico, were in between jobs, had just returned from the military or from being incarcerated, there were always other people staying with us while they “got back on their feet.” My parents opened their arms and their front door to whoever needed it. I never questioned this way of life. I was taught, “If you have, then you provide.” We took care of each other. I saw, firsthand, the opportunity created when we each take responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for our neighbors and for our communities. This belief has spurred me on through 30 years in the public sector, as an educator, a foster care worker and a leader of nonprofits.

As I established my own home in Bed-Stuy as a single mom, my children and I recreated the dynamic my parents had built. We always have a few extra people living in our home – whom we often refer to as our “chosen family.” These extended family members have filled my home with love and reciprocal support. In a twist of fate, since the pandemic hit, I have shared my home with my parents and my children. I envision a New York City where we take care of each other, where everyone is welcome to the dinner table, where neighbors provide more support than extra sugar and all of us have a warm place to rest our heads. Although NYC is vast with diversity, we are all inextricably bound together and are only as strong as our most vulnerable link.

360: How can a mayor, as opposed to any other civic official, lead unique positive changes for equity?

Morales: Over the past several months there is a mantra I have been repeating consistently: a budget is a reflection of our values. The mayor has executive power over what gets funded in the city and by how much. Funding for services that contribute to true public safety (access to housing, medical/mental healthcare, economic stability, job training, education) will provide access and opportunity to those who have historically been left behind by our elected officials. Line by line, the budget reveals the values of a city and government. The NYC budget passed in June was a failure. It failed the residents of NYC, who have been raising their voices in protest and demanding a divestment from law enforcement since May 29. It failed those whose lives have been lost at the hands of the NYPD. It failed communities of color that have been disproportionately impacted by violence and brutality.

The budget highlights the need for NYC leadership to put New Yorkers first by investing in communities. The NYC Mayor also has the ability to work to desegregate public schools and impact the quality of education provided to over 1.1 million students, many of whom are students of color living in poverty. This alters the course of a student’s life and provides an entry point to economic mobility and a true career trajectory. New Yorkers deserve a bold, transformational leader who is unapologetically committed to prioritizing justice in the budget’s bottom line. I fundamentally believe that those closest to the problem are closest to the solution. Our city needs a mayor that is in tune with her people and provides a vision for and direction for what is possible.

360: What are some of the most pressing or urgent issues that need attention within New York City, and how would you address them?

Morales: New York’s problems all stem from structural oppression by Race, Gender and Class, so our solutions must go deeper, all the way to the root causes. Too many New Yorkers are living in a time of scarcity, and that’s been going on since long before the virus hit. The are working two jobs, just barely surviving and always one misfortune away from losing everything. Instead of this “Scarcity Economy,” we need a “Solidarity Economy,” and that requires bold action. First, transforming public safety in the city by providing access to the same critical resources found in wealthy communities will be a critical step toward creating the long-term change we need for all to live in dignity. True public safety includes ensuring that every New Yorker has access to “life essentials,” like quality transportation, affordable housing, excellent and equal education and human-centered healthcare. All New Yorkers deserve access to these fundamental resources in order to live in dignity, and it is the necessary floor needed to break through glass ceilings.

Next, we must enhance and overhaul vital infrastructure requiring multi-part, creative solutions that address the deeper issues embedded in the fabric of NYC. To break the racist cycle of poverty that divides our city into the “haves” and the “have-nots,” we will establish a guaranteed minimum income. We will push for universal healthcare and eliminate inequities in the health system faced by women, and especially women of color. We will work to address the persistent segregation of our schools and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by replacing school safety officers with trained mental health professionals. The driving force behind all policy initiatives is the experiences, needs and voices of women of color. Particularly, Black women. As the Combahee River Collective wisely wrote in its 1977 statement, “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” We know that if New York does right by Black women, the entire city will be better for it.

360: How can you use your personal experiences with serving as a single mother and observing the many other challenges that face New York City residents to enact policy reform?

Morales: So many of New York’s problems have impacted me directly, and so much of who I am and what I know comes from being a mom. My greatest joy is being the mother of my two children, Ben and Gabby. They constantly push me, teach me and nourish me. As a single parent, I share experiences with hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers. A 2018 study found that single-parent households are the second largest household type in New York City. I navigated New York City’s systems – economic, health and education – on my own. I balanced a budget for my family each month, figuring out how to make it work. My greatest challenge was parenting my children through the NYC education system. The rigid and unforgiving education that my children received did not allow any space for their learning differences. They did not see themselves in the white-centric curriculum and we struggled to find support during their developmental years. Advocating for my children was a full-time job on top of my paying-full-time-job. Again and again I have stood with parents for a more equitable and life-affirming education for our kids. It is with this same community spirit of coalition building, advocacy and bettering of our social safety nets that I will push for policies that support all types of families in NYC.

360: What is one of the most significant components of your background or experiential knowledge that separates you from any other candidate?

Morales: I am, in so many ways, the average New Yorker. I was born and bred in Bed-Stuy. I am an Afro Latina single-mom of two children who survived the New York City public school system. I am a first generation college graduate who came back home to my city after school. I am a woman of color who discovered that I was not being paid the same as my white male counterparts. I’ve watched my neighborhood change, I’ve seen Starbucks replace the corner bodega, and I have spent my weekends marching side by side – 6 feet apart – with my fellow New Yorkers demanding justice for those killed at the hands of a racist policing system. Because I am the average New Yorker, my voice reflects the voices of thousands of others. We share our lived experiences, frustrations and joys. I love New York City because I see our full potential for all of us.

360: How does your previous extensive work with social service nonprofits inform your motivations and goals to serve as Mayor?

Morales: For decades, I worked within the community to address structural inequities burdening communities of color. I worked alongside those experiencing the symptoms of our broken system most acutely – poverty, lack of access to education, homelessness and mental health services. I witnessed firsthand the day-to-day struggles of New Yorkers that are perpetuated by cycles of poverty and oppression. I worked from the ground, up and from the inside, out. But as I hammered away, I recognized these structural and institutional barriers, and began to ask, “So how do we burn them down?” It felt as though I was only tinkering around the edges of the problem and providing Band-Aid solutions to deep, deep wounds. The core, perpetuating issues were centralized and foundational. I realized that if I want to create lasting, effective change, I must address these systemic and political problems at the root. As Mayor, I would carry with me the voices of those I have served.

360: In outlining your points of action and reform for New York City, how does the COVID-19 pandemic affect any of these potential strides for change?

Morales: As we know, COVID-19 is a catastrophe that illuminates all of the cracks and splinters in our broken systems. At first, many claimed the COVID-19 was a “great equalizer,” affecting all people, regardless of race, class or gender. Instead COVID-19 disproportionately impacts people of color and low-income communities. This is not a coincidence or personal failing, but rather the direct result of racist systems, putting structural oppression in stark relief. While some New Yorkers are able to escape crowded areas, arm themselves with personal protective equipment and work remotely, others, namely people of color, are on the front lines providing essential services to our city.

As COVID-19 has had devastating consequences that will leave a lasting impact for years to come, it has also provided us with a unique moment. As we saw after the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police, being homebound and isolated forces us to pay attention. We have paused. We have slowed down. With fewer distractions and a center of focus, folks all across the country have had the veil lifted. People are noticing the interconnected webs of oppression I have lived with and that I have been fighting to dismantle my entire life. In this moment, we need leaders in office who are of, by and for the movement for social change. There is a momentum and hunger for justice that can no longer be ignored. As we overcome the challenge of the disease, I will never let the city forget who is truly essential. Together we will create a world in which front-line workers are truly valued as indispensable. A world where we accompany our applause and platitudes with a livable wage, unquestionable dignity and real community power.

360: What are some of the most rewarding takeaways you have gained from leading several momentous organizations?

Morales: I’ve learned firsthand about the barriers and challenges that people have to overcome in order to gain access to opportunities that are alleged to be available to everyone. I also have watched as community members care for one another to bridge the gaps in access to those opportunities. This is testament to the power of our communities to be true partners in determining the solutions they face when given the resources to do so. Finally, I have been able to bear witness to what is possible when people finally gain access and opportunity and how that has the potential to change the trajectory of people’s lives and transform families and communities.

360: Regarding the national and global movement, Black Lives Matter, how will you utilize your unique identity to empower minorities in the City of New York?

Morales: Like many people of color, I have lived years of my life trying not to take up space. I have seen the ways that my identities – my Blackness, my Latina roots, my politics, my womanhood – make people, namely white people, uncomfortable. In these spaces I would constantly ask myself, “Do I seem too opinionated, too articulate, too aggressive?” I would contort and deflate myself to fit into tight corners and small boxes. I would shrink myself so that others could feel big. When making the decision to run for Mayor of NYC, I decided it was important for me to run as my full, unadulterated, unapologetic, multi-hyphenated self. There would be no more shrinking, questioning or self-doubt. I recognize that by the very nature of stepping into this space, I am opening up a path of possibility. As the first Afro-Latina running for mayor of New York City, I recognize the awesome responsibility I hold. I know that when I speak, unfairly or not, I am representing all Afro-Latina women. Missteps become mass stereotypes. Accolades become communal achievements.

This is both beautiful and deeply terrifying. But in moments of fear, I am guided by a greater purpose to bring with me those whom have been devalued and made to feel small, as I have been; to elevate the voices of those with shared experiences and claim our rightful place in democracy and representation in leadership. People like me, individuals and communities of color, women of color, we must be at the forefront of our politics and policies. I am deeply committed to divesting from racist systems and investing in Black and Brown communities. I am committed to reimagining public safety on our streets and in our schools. I am committed to shifting wealth opportunities to those who have been historically marginalized. I am committed to redressing and repairing the wounds of oppression that scar our city. I am in this race to stand taller in the face of a world that tells me to shrink. I am here to tell them that Black lives are beloved. We matter today and every day forward.

360: To all of the NYC citizens following your efforts to better numerous communities, what are some of the best ways individuals can support your campaign?

Morales: The best way to help me is to join the campaign with a small contribution. I am not a career politician, and unlike other candidates, I have not spent decades cultivating a war chest of people, networks and resources to kickstart my run for mayor. I want to be responsive to the people, not the special interests.. My campaign was born out of my home in Bed-Stuy, out of conversations with my neighbors, friends and colleagues. Our campaign is 100% powered by the people, not the 1%. We are an intersectional coalition of Black and Brown, Latinx, LGBTQIA and working class New Yorkers. We are backed by the people being hit the hardest at this moment in time. I am so incredibly humbled that in the middle of a pandemic, without employment, people are finding a way to donate to our campaign. I know what is at stake and the choices they have had to make to do so. If donating to our campaign is not possible for you during this financially uncertain time, we understand. Visit my website, dianne.nyc, for information and volunteer opportunities. Spread our mission to your fellow New Yorkers. Reach out to join our team. Remember me in November 2021.

To learn more about Dianne Morales, you can click right here. To learn more about her stances and solutions, you can click right here. To support Morales through donations, you can click right here. You can also support her on Twitter and Instagram.

politics, podium, flag, speech

End of Federal Moratorium

By Eamonn Burke

The CARES act instated in March that protected renters across the country from evictions ended on Friday. The 12.3 million households under federally backed mortgages can now be given 30-day notices and evicted in August. The end of this protection, as well as the end of additional unemployment payment will make it hard for many renters to keep their homes.

“We are looking at an eviction cliff,” said National Housing Conference President David Dworkin. “Once we fall over it, it will be hard to climb back.”

The “cliff” that Dworkin references will bring a spike of homelessness across the country. States like Arizona and Tennessee have shown data of many more pending evictions than normal. It’s not only the numbers that tell the story, however:

“We still anecdotally have seen some people become newly homeless due to informal evictions” says Jacquelyn Simone, a policy analyst in New York’s Coalition for the Homeless.

Although the moratorium period has officially ended, the fight to extend it has not. Some states such as New York, Washington, and Connecticut, have enacted their own ban on evictions until the end of August. The fight continues at the Federal level as well. The House passed a $100 billion assistance fund, while Senator Kamala Harris (D) of California released a plan for a year long ban on evictions and leniency on rent. The Senate, on the other hand, seems to be unwilling to include these ideas in their coronavirus legislation. Many Republicans feel that the moratorium has extended long enough.

“We disagree . . . to a forever, ongoing moratorium” said Maryland Multi-Housing Association director Adam Skolnik, calling it “fundamentally unfair” to the renters who are also struggling. It remains to be seen whether the parties can come to an agreement on how to deal with the complex issue.

Covid and health illustration

COVID-19 Evictions

By Eamonn Burke

The recession caused by Covid-19 has put millions of people out of work and out of income, making it harder for them to pay for their housing. As a result, a heightened importance has been placed on housing and income security in light of the pandemic by the United States government.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has temporarily halted evictions and closures to help ensure housing for families and individuals. These moratoriums are a part of the CARES Act passed on March 27, including 2 Trillion dollars for economic relief. Most of these exceptions truly are temporary, however, and will be lifted when the pandemic is further under control.

Individual states are undertaking efforts to protect housing as well, and these policies can be viewed for every state in a scorecard compiled by the Eviction Lab and Professor Emily Benfer of Columbia’s Law School.

Click here for information about this housing crisis and to find out whether or not you are protected.

Cash Money Records Donates Rent

Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams of Cash Money Records have donated over $225,000 to Forward Together New Orleans (FTNO), the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization filling urgent gaps in community needs and available resources to protect our city during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though initially planned for May, funds will be used specifically to pay the June rent for hundreds of subsidized tenants and families who are most at need, and live in the former Magnolia, Calliope, and Melpomene projects, now known respectively as the Scattered Sites Harmony Oaks, Marrero Commons, and Guste. Tenants will be notified directly if they are included in the grant, which will go to the landlords.

The Williams brothers grew up in New Orleans and went on to establish the top independent record label in the country launching the careers of dozens of artists including Lil Wayne, Juvenile, and Nicki Minaj. Giving back to their community and those less fortunate is a priority for the brothers who created their own 501(c)(3) organization The Johnny and Gladys Williams Foundation—named after their parents as a channel for their philanthropic endeavors. For over 20 years, via The Johnny and Gladys Williams Foundation, the Cash Money duo has given away free Thanksgiving dinners and partnered with Ochsner Health Systems to provide free health screenings available to all New Orleans residents who come to the turkey give-away.

Bryan states, “The legacy of Cash Money belongs to the city of New Orleans. There’s nothing more important to us than giving back to the brothers and sisters who live on those same streets we grew up on – from musicians to service workers to everyday working families. That’s what this label was always about.”

“New Orleans made us and is part of who we are,” says Ronald. “We are devastated that this pandemic is hitting our community there so hard and we are committed to doing what we can to help now and in the long term.”

Given the scale of COVID-19 and its far-reaching impacts on the City of New Orleans, Forward Together New Orleans plans to immediately issue checks to the scattered sites to pay for June rent for those tenants who are in the public housing programs, excluding any monies already subsidized by the government and other organizations. FTNO is The Mayor’s Fund which began as New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s transition committee and now plans to thrive long past her tenure in office, a vehicle that offers nonprofit, partnership support to future New Orleans mayors.

Said Mayor LaToya Cantrell: “In years to come, when we look back on how our city came together to get through the coronavirus crisis, we will have no better example of leadership than the Williams brothers, these sons of New Orleans who make our city proud today. No one should have to fear losing their home while trying to protect their health. That is why we have been leading the charge in New Orleans to make housing moreaffordable, and quickly banned evictions in our city during the COVID-19 crisis. This helps us continue that path, demonstrating how we can come together as businesses, government, and non-profits to address our residents’ most pressing needs now.”

Mayor Cantrell’s administration has uncovered hundreds of millions in infrastructure dollars to fix New Orleans’ ancient drainage system, and now turns its attention to human infrastructure. After Hurricane Katrina while a neighborhood leader, Mayor Cantrell helped stand up five community health clinics to bring affordable access to residents. As Councilperson, she led the fight to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. As Mayor, she formed Fit NOLA, a partnership between the City of New Orleans and local organizations working together to fight obesity by promoting physical activity and improved nutrition. She created the Fast Track City Steering Committee to develop an HIV strategy to end the epidemic by 2030. With a majority Black population, New Orleans is especially hit hard by the underlying health issues which have caused the Black community to experience a higher death rate from COVID-19.

The Forward Together New Orleans Board is uniquely suited to help respond to the pandemic and its ensuing health disparities. Dr. Kathleen Kennedy is the Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Xavier University of Louisiana. In 2007, Dr. Kennedy organized the first national health disparities conference (which continues annually) for mid-level health care professionals. She served as the Director of the Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research and Education during Hurricane Katrina until 2009. Dr. Kennedy is also the Chair of the Greater New Orleans Chapter of the American Heart Association, and Chair of the Association of Minority Health Professions Schools.

“We’re in a moment of serious crisis for our city, and FTNO is committed to acting as a hub for business, government, and community-based organizations to work together on response and recovery. As a continuation of my work on health disparities, I am proud to support the Cantrell Administration’s efforts and will move quickly and decisively to help New Orleans recover again, as I did after Hurricane Katrina” said Dr. Kennedy.

Fellow Board Member Dr. Eric Griggs has a unique perspective as a community health expert. He is on the front lines of the pandemic as Director of Community Medicine at Access Health Louisiana, where he has been hosting regular Facebook lives to educate residents on COVID-19 preparedness, along with Infectious Diseases Physician Dr. MarkAlain Dery and Chief Medical Editor for WDSU, Dr. Corey Hebert. As a board member of the South Broad Community Health Center, formed in Mayor Cantrell’s own neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina, he is steeped in experience of how neighborhoods can lead the charge for recovery.

Board Member Dr. Silas Lee’s extensive knowledge of and experience with the social and cultural dynamics of urban society, as well as his expertise in both qualitative and quantitative data analysis, offer an important perspective for Forward Together New Orleans.

The organization has recently distributed grants to the City of New Orleans for other COVID-19 related projects. The Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families is using $30,000 toward providing infant and feminine hygiene products to families in need. They are also providing paid summer internships and year round programming for youth with juvenile justice involvement. That grant will provide the participants with hotspots, tablets, and or laptops so they can access resources and pursue workforce readiness training opportunities.

About Cash Money Records

Since 1991, Brothers Bryan “Birdman” Williams aka “Baby” and Ronald “Slim” Williams have built Cash Money Records into a legendary force in the music industry. Through tireless devotion and an unparalleled work ethic, the duo founded the legendary label in the New Orleans housing projects and elevated it into a multi-million-dollar empire and cultural tastemaker.

The label also houses Lil Wayne’s imprint Young Money Entertainment (Drake and Nicki Minaj) as well as a publishing arm Cash Money Content. Cash Money Records is distributed by Republic Records, a division of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company.

About Forward Together New Orleans

Forward Together New Orleans is dedicated to helping all the people of New Orleans. Our goal is to make the city a fairer, more inclusive place – a city of opportunity for all. We work toward this goal by forging partnerships between community organizations and the business and philanthropic sectors. These partnerships are meant to improve the lives of New Orleanians in every corner of the city. Forward Together New Orleans is a 501(c)(3) organization that launched in 2018 as the transition committee for Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell. In those early stages, FTNO brought together some 200 community stakeholder volunteers to collaborate on a set of recommendations for the incoming administration.

Since that time, FTNO has evolved into an effort to bridge the public and private sectors and address New Orleans’ most pressing challenges.

As of the spring of the 2020, that challenge is the coronavirus, an extraordinary public health and economic threat. Forward Together New Orleans partners with the City of New Orleans to assist with mobile testing, neighborhood navigators, rental assistance, food security, and a bridge fund. Board members include Eric Griggs, M.D., Dr. Silas Lee, and Dr. Kathleen Kennedy. Liana Elliott, Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Cantrell, serves as liaison to the board from the City. Founded to reflect the collaborative, grassroots leadership Mayor LaToya Cantrell has brought to City Hall, the goal is for FTNO to thrive long past her tenure in office, a vehicle that offers nonprofit, partnership support to future New Orleans mayors.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

3 things you should know before moving in your student flat

So, you’ve just completed your first year of university and are looking for a way out of student dorms. More than likely, you will have never rented a property before, so before you race ahead and agree to the first flat you see, you should take some time to research and assess the properties you look at before making a final decision.

To help you choose the right student flat, you should take a look at the following tips which will help you understand the renting process and allow you to exercise your tenant rights.

Property location

When looking for the property, the first thing to consider is the location, as you need to make sure that your journey to lectures isn’t too long. You could start by looking at properties surrounding your university, although these may not be within your budget or will most likely be too small to fit you and your flatmates.

If you’re a student at a central university, you may be best looking on the outskirts, which will mean you’re not paying city-centre prices but are still a short walk away from your place of study. Property companies like RW Invest offer affordable properties for students in Liverpool universities, which offer luxury accommodation in a prime location. This gives tenants convenient access to their university, as well as shops, bars, restaurants and more – which allows them to benefit from the full student experience. If you’re in San Diego then you can check out sandiegodowntown.com/search-san-diego-condos-for-sale/ for some upscale yet modern accommodation options.

Living costs

If you lived in halls in your first year, you will understand some of the costs associated with student living. However, there are some differences with a private student flat, for example, you may have to pay all your bills separately, in comparison to your student accommodation where you paid everything together. You need to consider costs such as your rent, utility bills, Wi-FI, TV license and more to establish whether the flat is a viable option for you.

If the landlord does not include utility bills within the tenancy, you will have to sort it yourself, which may seem daunting but can actually save you a significant amount. To make sure you’re making a saving, you should inspect the appliances and fixtures to ensure there are no issues such as leaks which may cause your energy bills to shoot up. A lot of modern properties now feature smart meters, which will help you monitor your usage and prevent you from overspending.

Your rights

Even if you find a property that you’re interested in and are eager to move in, you should hold fire before reading every single detail in the tenancy agreement. This will contain all of your rights, including deposit protection, which is what you pay at the beginning of your tenancy and you should receive this back if no damages occur. By law, your landlord must secure your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme to protect them and you, if they do not, you can sue them for four times the cost of the deposit.

As a private tenant, there are several rights that should be stated in the tenancy agreement, including eviction periods, maintenance issues, and inventory. The latter should be checked before you move in, for example, make sure you check your washing machine to ensure it is working correctly, and if not you should report this to your landlord before you sign the agreement.

5 Ways to Live Well for Less

A simple, economic lifestyle doesn’t necessarily require sacrificing your quality of life, in spite of people often mistakenly believing that one is almost synonymous with the other. It is perfectly possible to combine minimalism with intelligent indulgence, and live well for less. In regard to how that can be achieved, we will now discuss some of the easy to adopt methods next.

Rent, Don’t Buy

When you rent instead of buying, you save more money, since you do not lose out on the depreciating cost of real estate in the US and there’s nothing holding you back from moving when you need to.

Don’t Pay High Rent Unnecessarily

Renting is a better and cheaper option than buying, which is a financial and practical truth, but you can save even more by moving to a low rent section of the city. If you like the location, just move to a smaller apartment and you will be paying less, without sacrificing the location.

Sometimes, we make the mistake of paying more money for space we hardly even use, which is common, but unwise nonetheless.

Don’t Give Up on the Coffee, but Save on the Pods

The coffee machine is a little bit of luxury that some people won’t likely be willing to give up. Even if they do give up on the coffee machine because of the exorbitant prices of the original coffee pods, it won’t be a sacrifice that will make you feel like you are living well for less!

As this list is all about finding cheaper and sometimes better ways to live well by spending less money, we have a brilliant solution for you. If you have a Nespresso machine, for example, just choose to buy Nespresso capsules from a third party instead, and you could be saving about 40% on the pods!

Gourmesso makes espresso, lungo, decaf, and flavored coffee pods for the Nespresso machines (except the VertuoLine models), which will save you a fortune in the long run, but you won’t have to sacrifice on the quality of your coffee at all.

Don’t Shop from Expensive Brands

Gucci, Prada and Ralph Lauren products are exorbitantly expensive, but do not provide any real additional value to the customer, aside from vanity.

You would be surprised to know that almost all of the products which these brands release with their stamp on them are actually made in tiny sweatshops that you will never even hear about. The same products, without the customizations exclusive to those brands are often sold by their suppliers at a tiny fraction of the price!

You don’t have to buy rags and unbranded clothing of course, but by simply avoiding the big brands, and supporting some of the local, less popular ones, you will be able to shop more for less money.

Shift to a More Practical Car

The muscle cars and the sports cars have their appeal, so to say they are pointless would be a lie. Unlike branded clothing from luxury brands, you do actually get better performance and the wow factor from these beasts for sure.

However, in a practical scenario, these cars are definitely more about vanity than practicality. It’s okay when you have that mindset and the money to spend on a car that will burn through fuel like hot knife through butter, but as we are talking about living well for less, why not shift to a more fuel-efficient and comfortable car instead?

They cost less to buy, maintain and refuel, immediately making them a better choice for living with less, but without really sacrificing on anything practical.

There’s just so much more you can change and adopt to save money, without having to let go of your favorite things in life. These were just five, but they should be able to give you an idea of how to do the same in any other sphere of your lifestyle as well.

UK Households Spending More Than They Earn

  • UK cost of living for a four-person family is £60,000 per year – 103 per cent of average household income
  • UK housing and utility costs have risen by 13 per cent1
  • The global study found the most affordable expat country for families is Sweden

Today, new research by leading price comparison website MoneySuperMarket reveals that the UK is the most expensive location to raise a family. The running costs associated with a four-person family in the UK exceeded those of Spain, USA, Germany and Sweden due to the high costs of rent, utility bills and groceries2.

The data is based on the average monthly cost of property, utility bills and grocery shopping for a family with two children in 10 locations. These locations are some of the most popular destinations for the British public to emigrate to. MoneySuperMarket also ranked the costs against the countries’ average full time salary, to reveal the percentage of salary two working adults must put towards household expenses. In the UK, the average cost of a four-person family is more than twice the combined total of two adults’ salaries4.

Popular expat destinations with lower living costs

With lower utility bills (£94.41 per month), heavily subsidised pre-school costs (£230.34) and a standard average monthly rent of £1,149.40, Sweden is the only country analysed where a single parent can comfortably afford to have two children, working out as 87 per cent of the average working salary5. Based on two adults with two children it’s even more affordable, eating into less than half (43 per cent) of the combined salaries.

The full ranking of the affordable global cities to raise a family, including a breakdown of all metrics, can be seen below:

Global cost of raising a four-person family

Changing costs over time

On average, the weekly food shop has lowered in price for families over the last 16 years, from £236 to £232. However, spending on both housing and utilities, and household goods and services, has increased by 11 per cent overall. In 2001, the average monthly cost of housing and utilities per person in the UK was £277.77, but by 2017 this figure had risen by 13 per cent to £314.82. Due to these rises, the cost of raising a family in the UK has become more expensive.

For more information on the most affordable countries to move to, check out the MoneySuperMarket report around the changes in UK household spending over time.

Antonique Smith Stars in Marvel/Netflix Series

Actress, Activist and Grammy Nominated Singer, Songwriter Antonique Smith is one of the new stars in season 2 of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix. Smith has an eight episode arc in the hit series playing Detective Nandi Tyler. Is Nandi, a rival of Misty Knight, a friend or foe of Luke Cage? The highly anticipated return of the show premiered worldwide to rave reviews on June 22nd.
The action drama stars Mike Colter as Luke Cage, a Harlem-based superhero with super strength and bulletproof skin. The cast also includes Alfre Woodard, Simone Missick,Theo Rossi, Mahershala Ali, Gabrielle Dennis, Mustafa Shakir and Rosario Dawson.
Luke Cage is created and executive produced by Cheo Hodari Coker and co-executive produced by Aida Croal, Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory.
On Sunday night, Netflix launched the Strong Black Lead campaign. The campaign features Antonique amongst other black actors, writers, show runners, and producers on Netflix and in Hollywood. The plan for the spot, which debuted during the BET Awards, and the “A Great Day In Hollywood” campaign image stemmed from Netflix’s Strong Black Lead initiative designed to foster an “ongoing, intentional focus to talk authentically with the black audience.”
Variety released an article detailing the inspiring campaign and listing all those involved. Watch the video and read the article here
ABOUT ANTONIQUE SMITH:
Antonique Smith is a singer, songwriter, actress, and social justice activist, primarily known for her starring role
in the blockbuster film, “Notorious“, and her leading role in the Broadway musical, “RENT“. In 2015, she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category and later that year released her buzzworthy EP “Love Is Everything”.
Antonique has been seen in numerous film and television roles including the Queen Latifah executive produced, 2017 Netflix film, “Deuces” and she had a recurring role in the hit FOX drama-series, “Shots Fired“, Executive Produced by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Empire’s executive producer, Brian Grazer.
Antonique brought in the year 2018 with her stirring rendition of “Here Comes The Sun” live in Times Square on Steve Harvey’s New Year’s Eve on FOX program.
Having been on a 20 city “Act On Climate” tour with the Hip Hop Caucus and also singing for the Pope’s climate rally for over 100,000 people on the National Mall in D.C., Antonique is a serious advocate for climate justice and human rights.
For more information, please visit www.antonique.com
CONNECT WITH ANTONIQUE

http://Antonique.com

“Love Is Everything” EP
On iTunes:
On Spotify: