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Setting Fair Policies for Older BIPOC Minnesotans


Monday, September 27, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The challenges facing older Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Minnesotans will be the focal point of a virtual forum tomorrow. One of the panelists says there are many ways to establish fairness for seniors of color.

The online discussion, hosted by AARP, will feature a handful of state lawmakers, including Rep. Cedric Frazier - DFL-New Hope.

He said as is the case for other age groups, the benefits of affordable housing remain an obstacle. But for BIPOC residents at retirement age, Frazier said it can be a much bigger problem because of historical barriers in gaining home ownership.

"Housing is still a big part of how you build wealth in this country," said Frazier. "And in many cases, when people get toward an age of retirement, housing is something that - maybe you can sell that house and you can use those resources to supplement any retirement accounts, or lack of retirement accounts."

But research shows Minnesota has among the worst homeownership disparities in the country, making it hard for BIPOC residents to build generational wealth.

Frazier said he hopes the state can craft policies that help marginalized individuals build a nest egg.

Family caregiver support and livable communities also will be discussed. The forum runs from noon to 1 p.m. tomorrow. A link can be found on AARP Minnesota's website.

New retirement homes and assisted-living facilities are being constructed in many Minnesota communities. Frazier said the state needs to ensure BIPOC residents calling these areas home feel welcome.

"Maybe having areas that reflect the diversity of the state," said Frazier. "So that our BIPOC community members can actually have places that are gonna be inclusive, places that are gonna understand different situations culturally."

He said he sees health-care costs as another key issue for BIPOC residents 50 and older. At the federal level, groups such as AARP are urging Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices amid rising costs.

Disclosure: AARP Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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