Economic Equity

What's the problem?

Memphis has suffered from economic inequity and systemic racism with adverse effects in housing, business development, transportation, opportunities for returning citizens and living wage jobs. In spite of modest improvements, Memphis still ranks second poorest among cities in the U.S., especially among children and families of color.

Why should we care?

Economic equity is an issue of justice. Memphis will not see far-reaching economic growth without addressing the underlying issues of disparity.​ that have historically undermined the economic well-being for communities of color.  Economic prosperity is not being shared equitably, resulting in a city still divided by racial and economic lines.

What should be done?

Financial Empowerment Equity

  • Engage banks to innovate and invest various forms of growth capital into low and moderate-income areas.

  • Engage foundations to provide “social business funds” to invest in socially conscious, low-income entrepreneurs’ start-up costs.

  • Hold local financial institutions accountable to fully comply with or exceed Community Reinvestment Act requirements (CRA) and related agreements; seek commitments from those not in highest compliance; resist any attempts to ease CRA regulations.


Transportation Equity

  • Double the operational funding for MATA over the next three years and work with elected officials to find dedicated long-term sources of funding.

  • Increase the number and speed of routes to underserved communities and resist reductions of service.

  • Advocate for more funding from the corporate, municipal, state, and federal resources for bus upgrades.

  • Engage foundations and others to fund innovative and alternative transportation in low-income communities.

Community Dislocation and Affordable Housing

  • Hold Memphis Housing Authority accountable to their commitment for the return of the former residents of Foote Homes.

  • Reserve 1/3 of the new housing complex for the lowest stratum of low-income residents of the city.

  • Ensure that 300 former Foote Home households are ensured residence in the new development.

 Renter's Rights

Memphis is the Nation’s “Eviction Capital”, with 30,000 cases filed yearly, involving nearly one in three renters. Poverty, rising rents and blighted older housing (often absentee-owned) create this bad situation for renters. Landlord-friendly laws and court procedures make the situation worse, eve in the best of times.The COVID crisis is likely to double the number of evictions, spreading the crisis to even moderate-income renters.

For Memphis Renter's Rights FAQs and Resources, click here.


It's time for action on behalf of renters. MICAH Calls on...

  • Mayor Harris and Mayor Strickland, to introduce local legislation to extend the Eviction Moratorium at least until July 25 when the Federal moratorium ends.  No evictions for non-payment of rent, regardless of cause. Staying home, even when it means a loss of income, is a government public health mandate. One can’t stay home without a home.

  • The Tennessee Supreme Court, to issue an executive order allowing and encouraging judges to mandate forbearance where tenants are waiting on unemployment or other COVID benefits or are otherwise economically impacted by the crisis. Forbearance can include: accepting partial payment, deferring payment, reducing payments, waiving late fees or other methods.

  • The Tennessee State Supreme Court, to issue an executive order to postpone or eliminate tenant payments of ALL legal fees on COVID related cases. Attorneys must be paid by the landlord, not the tenant.

  • The Tennessee State Supreme Court, to abolish all court costs on COVID related cases at the cost of the courts.

  • Sheriff Bonner and Director Rallings, to take swift police action against landlords who engage in any illegal eviction by force or threat. Enforce the Landlord Tenant Act.

  • Judges of General Sessions Court, when the courts reopen, to assure that due process is scrupulously observed, and the legal rights of tenants are fully protected.

  • Banks, to offer forbearance for mortgage holders of rental property, to parallel that offered by Federal or other government backed mortgages. MICAH calls on all elected leaders in the Mid-South to call on banks, other financial institutions and their trade organizations to provide forbearance on landlord or owner mortgage payments, including deferral or reduction of payments and waiver of late fees, attorneys fees and court costs, on condition that deferral and workout benefits are extended to tenants.

  • The Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR) and other organizations of landlords, to adopt a code of conduct that recognizes our common humanity and seeks to minimize the total suffering of all Memphians.

Check out our calendar to see when and where the next Economic Equity Task Force meeting will be held!