During a presentation at the recently concluded 2023 Elite 100 Wealth and Legacy Summit, award-winning media personality and entrepreneur, Angela Yee, discussed “Building A Wealth Legacy” and how she is assisting women who have served time in prison to achieve success through the development of a 30-unit building in Midtown Detroit, Michigan.
“It’s hard to get housing when you get out of prison. If you look at the numbers, of how difficult it is, they used to ask you if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, and people would not get housing,” Yee noted.
Forbes shared the story of Topeka K. Sam, who was all too familiar with this tale. She was initially facing a 130-month sentence, which was later reduced to 65 months. After being freed, she concentrated all of her efforts on founding The Ladies of Hope Ministries, which offers safe housing and reentry support for women.
Today, Sam is also a member of the all-female team that Yee assembled to support the building’s real estate. Her involvement in the project highlighted the difficulties that people who are incarcerated frequently encounter and further demonstrated the value of supporting women who have faced comparable difficulties.
Yee shared, “She [Sam] got a presidential pardon from Trump. When we included her in this deal, the bank actually wouldn’t get us a loan unless we took her off. It was very emotional because it was yet another obstacle for somebody who has great credit and all of those things. But I was like, let’s get this done right so that we can, later on, discuss what type of policies need to be implemented in the future so this doesn’t happen to somebody else.”
She continued, “So, part of what we’re doing with that building is making sure that women who are formerly incarcerated have a certain amount of those units that will be allocated to them.”
Black and Native Americans had the lowest earnings after being released from federal prison, according to Prison Policy. In addition, white people “appeared more disadvantaged and less employable ‘on paper,’ because of their longer sentences or higher rates of substance abuse.
However, compared to people from the Black and Hispanic communities who received prison sentences, those individuals continue to be employed at higher rates.