Social Exclusion: The Marginalization of African Americans in Health Care, Housing and Employment

The African American Alumni Committee of the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration Alumni Association present:

Social Exclusion: The Marginalization of African Americans in Health Care, Housing and Employment
Saturday, February 18, 2012

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Location: School of Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

This symposium brought together leading practitioners, scholars and community providers to examine the relationship between socio-economics, race and classism and how they contribute to the ongoing social exclusion of African Americans and impact their ability to secure appropriate and affordable housing, to leverage resources for urban planning, to gain access to vital physical and mental healthcare services and to maintain suitable, stable employment. Social exclusion has a profound effect on the physical and psychological functioning of many in our society. What role does our modern society play in the ongoing marginalization of African Americans? This question was examined in a special symposium during African American History Month.  

Keynote: Lynn C. Todman, PhD, Executive Director, Institute on Social Exclusion, Adler School of Professional Psychology

Workshop Descriptions
Mental and Physical Health Care Challenges and Solutions
The victory of passing Universal Healthcare at the federal level brings hope for uninsured and underinsured low and middle income African Americans. Yet, in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children go without needed mental and physical health treatment and medication.  This workshop focused on how social exclusion contributes to the rise of health related expenses and how the closing of mental health centers and public health clinics in record number only exacerbate this issue.  This workshop also explored promising practices that provide community-based services for children, the elderly, and adult men and women who would otherwise be without basic health care resources.

Housing and Urban Development
Poverty and resource inequities and the limited availability of affordable housing have contributed to a rise in homelessness and displacement of a large number of Chicago residents. Current housing legislation has created urban planning and economic grants that have been used to generate programs aimed at addressing the needs of residents facing foreclosure and displacement. This solution-oriented workshop focused on the social exclusion of African Americans related to current public policy and lending practices including the Chicago Housing Authority‚Äôs Plan for Transformation, which requires adherence to strict occupancy regulations and the implications related to fair housing. 

Unemployment and Under Employment
Under current federal unemployment compensation regulations, eligible men and women can receive up to 99 weeks of benefits. The national jobless rate continues to be a source of economic disenfranchisement for many Americans, which impacts those who are marginalized due to race at a greater rate. As a result, many African Americans are forced to go without viable employment for longer periods of time or to accept jobs in which they are underemployed. This workshop focused on recent public debate surrounding the potentially unfair employment practice of excluding applicants who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer and the impact of chronic unemployment and underemployment on the African American family.

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