Ong on the Plight of Small-Business Owners

Paul Ong, director of the Center for Neighborhood Knowledge  at UCLA Luskin, was featured in the Chicago Reader discussing the obstacles facing small-business owners struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minority-owned businesses are especially vulnerable, Ong said, noting that the closure of these businesses impacts not only individual companies but ultimately the fabric of their communities. “The vacancies and opportunities created by minority business closures will speed up the transformation, and can lead to additional waves of business and residential displacement,” he said. The pandemic threatens to further gentrification in many communities of color, which “already suffer from a history of disinvestment and a lack of new investment, leaving them job-poor and underserved by businesses,” Ong said. “So, it will be a downward spiral, a process of further marginalization of disadvantaged communities.” Ong’s research was also cited in a Bloomberg News piece on the devastating impact of COVID-19 on U.S. dry-cleaning businesses, which are largely Asian-owned. 


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