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Report for America reporter joins Charlotte Observer to cover affordable housing

Charlotte spent millions on low-income housing, but poor people can’t afford it

Over the last 16 years, the city of Charlotte has spent or committed $124 million to affordable housing. Next month, city leaders will ask voters for $50 million more. But the money hasn’t helped people like Curtis Simpson.
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Over the last 16 years, the city of Charlotte has spent or committed $124 million to affordable housing. Next month, city leaders will ask voters for $50 million more. But the money hasn’t helped people like Curtis Simpson.

Report for America announced Thursday the reporters who will be placed in newsrooms across the country this year, including at The Charlotte Observer.

Lauren Lindstrom, who has been a reporter at The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, for nearly five years, will report on Charlotte’s affordable housing challenge. At The Blade she has covered everything from Ohio’s heroin and opioid epidemic to Toledo’s efforts to reduce childhood lead poisoning

The Observer was selected as one of about two dozen newspapers nationwide to participate in Report for America, a nonprofit journalism and community service organization that assists newsrooms in helping to cover topics significant to their regions. The program will place a reporter in The Charlotte Observer newsroom for a year.

Report for America’s efforts began in 2017 when they announced a plan to train young journalists and place them in newsrooms for a year to help cover underserved rural regions or important local issues. It is an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a non-profit news organization that supports young journalists worldwide.

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For this year’s group, said Steven Waldman, co-founder and president of Report for America, “The quality of the applicant pool was mind-boggling, and their spirit — the commitment to local journalism as public service — was genuinely inspiring.” Besides newspapers, Report for America reporters will be placed at radio and television stations, non-profit news organizations and other journalism outlets around the country and Puerto Rico.

The program receives funding from several national organizations including Facebook, the Google News Initiative, the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Heising-Simons Foundation, Dirk and Natasha Ziff, Galloway Family Foundation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Tow Foundation, Select Equity Group Foundation, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism, The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The Steans Family Foundation, Henry M. Kimelman Family Foundation and the Duo Collective.

“Ensuring that every community has access to great local news is vital to restoring trust in media and our democracy. That’s why expanding the pool of excellent journalists who are passionate about local news is so important,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation Vice President for Journalism.

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