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Brockton residents press Healey for state aid

Housing, child care, youth services top list of needs

As Attorney General Maura Healey walked through the front door of the Cape Verdean Association of Brockton on Monday, she was greeted by the association’s executive director, City Councilor and former interim Mayor Moises Rodrigues.

“We’re hoping you come back next time not as the AG, but as the G,” he said, a tacit endorsement of Healey’s candidacy for governor.

Rodrigues then led Healey around the function room, introducing her to local residents, activists and other elected officials.

Yves Cajuste told Healey how he and 160 other business owners banded together to form the Greater Brockton Minority Business Association, applied for an SBA grant and launched last month.

“So what are you doing?” Healey asked. “The purpose is to organize,” Cajuste said, explaining that few Brockton-area businesses owned by Black, Cape Verdean, Haitian and Latino proprietors were able to take advantage of the federal Payroll Protection Program or other aid during the pandemic shutdowns.

“The problem is a lack of information,” he said. The organization holds trainings for businesses, helping them develop business plans and improve their web presence and take other measures that can improve their chances of securing loans.

Moving along, Healey chatted with restaurateurs, hairdressers and other business workers. Julian Logan asked Healey pointed questions about her ability to execute on her campaign promises.

Healey, who played point guard for Harvard’s basketball team, had a ready answer.

“The thing about being a point guard is getting people to collaborate,” she said. “The greatest statistic for point guards is not points. It’s assists. That’s my approach.”

She gave a good answer, Logan said after speaking with Healey. Logan and other Brockton residents at the meeting expressed concern about business assistance. They also aired concerns about youth services, housing affordability, jobs and resources for immigrants.

The city of 105,000 is majority people of color, with more than 10,000 people identifying as Cape Verdean and a growing Haitian population. In the atrium of Cape Verdean Association’s building hang flags from Puerto Rico, Angola, Portugal, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other countries represented by the immigrants the nonprofit serves.

An influx of African American, Haitian, Cape Verdean and Latino people fleeing Boston’s high rents and home prices has in recent years put strain on the city’s housing stock, causing some Brockton residents to move south to lower-income communities such as New Bedford and Fall River, according to Rodrigues.

Rodrigues said what Brockton needs most is increased state aid for housing assistance and youth programming. Nearly half of the city’s $493 million budget comes from state aid, but all but $24 million in that aid goes to the city’s schools.

Click here to read the full article from The Bay State Banner, April 16, 2022.

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