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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pawn Shop Alternatives : Tonight

If you haven't heard there's a pawn(shop)war going on in Crown Heights (or if you prefer Crow Hill)
The gist, the owners of a local laundromat at the corner of Park Pl and Franklin Ave have decided to setup a PawnShip in the rear if their building.

This caused much sadness and consternation among many residents (this writer included) because of the way in which Pawn Shops ensnare lower income peoples in a negative cycle while the fast cash offered obscures those negatives.

Residents were so motivated they contacted one another, including and other local businesses including the multifaceted arts space Launch Pad who with councilwoman Letitia James held an impromptu rally.

All of this was and continues to be well covered by the ilovefranklinave" blog

During the rally concerned residents expressed many truths about pawn shops and how instead of provinding economic opportunity to people with low funds they actually help keep people down. This post is intended as a brief but I'll be happy to go into details in the comments section of this post.

Regarding the pawn shop it's placement, questions of zoning and the overall legality of the business were also called into question.

The result seemed to be successfully preventing the pawnshop from opening. But like a bad penny the shop has since turned back up and seems determined go open soon.

Video from the protest rally against the shop brought some interesting aspects of the debate about pawn shops. A small but vocal number of residents came out in support of the planned pawn shop and stated their intent to do make use of it. These residents expressed their frustration that they could not find any other access to credit or loans and that for them the pawnshop was the only option. Some of those in support said they intended to look for work in the pawn shop and that despite several new businesses on Franklin Ave in the last two years, they weren't able to find employment from them.

The video especially impressed me for the thoughtful and civil nature of the public debate despite obvious passions and personal interests.

As the debate continued residents opposed to the Pawn shop suggested other methods of credit and loans to the shop supporters and the result so far is in the photo above.

Tonight at the LaunchPad space at 7:30p there will be a with the purpose of connecting people with few credit options to local bankers who can offer options.

Launch Pad is located at 741 Franklin Ave between Park and Sterling Places. I encourage you to attend even if you don't have a financial need. I expect it'll be a great way to stay aware of how the community doing.

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