Alameda County continues to struggle through the current recession. The unemployment rate in Alameda County reached a high of 11.9% in March, up 125% from 2008. In Oakland, the largest city in Alameda County, unemployment swelled to 17.8%. The housing market bottomed out with 1 in 161 housing units receiving foreclosure notices in March 2009 alone. Alameda County ranks number thirteen in the country in house values and property tax base loss due to this crisis. In 2008, 38,797 properties underwent Foreclosure in Oakland. These properties were concentrated most heavily in East Oakland. The areas of Alameda County with the highest rates of foreclosure are areas of the greatest concentrations of low income and African American and Latino residents. Moreover, in these areas “subprime” loans were aggressively marketed to people of color.
ARRA funding responded to the needs of Alameda County public and private sectors, enabling them to fiscally survive the state recession, stimulating the economy through shovel ready projects in the transportation and technology sectors, and saving jobs in the education and health and human sectors. However, in comparing ARRA funding to the foreclosure rates and unemployment rates in the county, research shows that although ARRA aided certain populations, it did not serve all neighborhoods equitably. Moreover, ARRA missed out on opportunities to heavily invest in workforce development and job training.
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