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KJHburg

Affordable Housing in Charlotte

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1 hour ago, Scribe said:

Basically, you are arguing that poor people of color lack the ability to maintain their own property in comparison to poor people that are white... to which I would say that is complete bullcrap. You would have a much stronger argument in saying that what groups of people value shows in how they live (no matter the income)!

Is it "white privilege" of the lower class white neighborhoods to keep their neighborhood neat and well kept?

I still cannot understand why certain people in this country want to always fall on race baiting?

Analysis of our society is not "race baiting." Description of peoples' attitudes that I have personally encountered is also not "arguing that poor people of color [can't] maintain their own property." I'm not even sure where you got these things from what I posted.

1 hour ago, kermit said:

Gentrification is a very complicated problem, and I don't want to diminish its importance. However I gotta wonder, would residents of Thomasboro be worse off if the neighborhood improved around them? In the short run everybody would benefit. Longer term, some current residents would get displaced further out, but what if they ended up in newer, bigger places with equal levels of transit access? Thomasboro currently provides a pretty low level of amenities to residents, I don't think that would be hard to replicate elsewhere. 

I agree. In general I don't feel that gentrification is that big of a problem: in the ideal world, those property owners would be fairly compensated and could get better housing than they previously had, with better services! However, it does involve the loss of the status quo, which can be emotionally difficult, and it'd also be disingenuous to claim that property owners are always fairly compensated in these situations. My favorite solution is to have property owners given a guaranteed spot in any new building that's built -- but that requires very high density (usually towers) and may not even be accepted if the person is used to living in a house with a yard and isn't open to living in an apartment.

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1 hour ago, asthasr said:

If you take an average white person and drive them through a working class white neighborhood, they might not even be able to tell the difference between that and a middle class white neighborhood. Take the same person through a middle class black neighborhood and they'll often think they're in the middle of the projects.

What exactly is your point here?

10 minutes ago, asthasr said:

Analysis of our society is not "race baiting."

Jumping to "white privilege" as your go to argument/defense is race baiting.

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1 hour ago, asthasr said:

It does. Race absolutely plays into poverty issues in this country because black and hispanic people are far more likely to be poor. It makes poverty more obvious and more difficult to eradicate. Dismissing this line of analysis is not productive.

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Sorry, this is just a lazy take and that article you linked to is garbage.  From it:

"The YIMBY movement has a white privilege problem," said Anya Lawler, a lobbyist with the Western Center on Law & Poverty, a legal advocacy group and adversary of SB 827. "I don't think they recognize it. They don't understand poverty. They don't understand what that's like, who our clients really are and what their lived experience is."

It is absolutely race baiting and being dismissive of the truth is not productive.  While it is true that by % blacks (24.1%) and hispanic (21.4%) have a higher concentration to poverty that whites (13.5%)...that 13.5% of whites is a massively larger number of people living in poverty.  So to suggest whites don't understand poverty is ignorant race-baiting.  If that's your cup of tea...shame on you!

At the end of the day, people don't want to live near crime.  They don't want to live near unkept homes.  They don't want to see their investments decline by way of actions from those who they are also supporting with tax dollars.  These wants are color blind.  Now you can make the inference that blacks and hispanics are less likely to take care of their homes and be more likely to commit crimes...which you kinda did...but that's on you and your guilt.  

 

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1 minute ago, Scribe said:

What exactly is your point here?

My point is: much of the time, people will overestimate the danger associated with neighborhoods of people who belong to different racial and ethnic groups. White people are advantaged in that, even if they are poor, they still look white. People associate poverty with minorities, so seeing a minority neighborhood predisposes them to expect poverty and danger. That can make it hard to maintain a stable, diverse middle class neighborhood.

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2 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

Sorry, this is just a lazy take and that article you linked to is garbage.  From it:

"The YIMBY movement has a white privilege problem," said Anya Lawler, a lobbyist with the Western Center on Law & Poverty, a legal advocacy group and adversary of SB 827. "I don't think they recognize it. They don't understand poverty. They don't understand what that's like, who our clients really are and what their lived experience is."

It is absolutely race baiting and being dismissive of the truth is not productive.  While it is true that by % blacks (24.1%) and hispanic (21.4%) have a higher concentration to poverty that whites (13.5%)...that 13.5% of whites is a massively larger number of people living in poverty.  So to suggest whites don't understand poverty is ignorant race-baiting.  If that's your cup of tea...shame on you!

At the end of the day, people don't want to live near crime.  They don't want to live near unkept homes.  They don't want to see their investments decline by way of actions from those who they are also supporting with tax dollars.  These wants are color blind.  Now you can make the inference that blacks and hispanics are less likely to take care of their homes and be more likely to commit crimes...which you kinda did...but that's on you and your guilt.  

I didn't link the article, @Scribe did, and I thought it was pretty good. Please note that they are talking about the California YIMBY movement themselves, not white people on the whole. I think it's safe to say that the YIMBY folks are mostly upper middle class white people: at least, that's what I've observed. I don't expect them to understand poverty (how many grew up in Appalachian trailer parks? not many).

As for the rest of your comment, please go jump in a lake.

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4 minutes ago, asthasr said:

My point is: much of the time, people will overestimate the danger associated with neighborhoods of people who belong to different racial and ethnic groups. White people are advantaged in that, even if they are poor, they still look white. People associate poverty with minorities, so seeing a minority neighborhood predisposes them to expect poverty and danger.

I would suggest you drive through a few neighborhoods.

American suburban neighborhoods are some of the most lifeless/dullest things around. How would you determine that a neighborhood is "dangerous" or poor or what race of people live?

You go by your budget, by amenities/features, city crime stats and how it looks (how the neighbors maintain their property - yard, home, etc).  How race comes into those calculations I have no idea.

 

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42 minutes ago, asthasr said:

I agree. In general I don't feel that gentrification is that big of a problem: in the ideal world, those property owners would be fairly compensated and could get better housing than they previously had, with better services! However, it does involve the loss of the status quo, which can be emotionally difficult, and it'd also be disingenuous to claim that property owners are always fairly compensated in these situations. My favorite solution is to have property owners given a guaranteed spot in any new building that's built -- but that requires very high density (usually towers) and may not even be accepted if the person is used to living in a house with a yard and isn't open to living in an apartment.

I am on board with all of this, and I do acknowledge that current residents getting a fair price when selling is a big issue (and tenants are much more disadvantaged). I can certainly see the value of the status quo to individuals, but I wonder how viable that concept is in a city which is growing at 3% a year. Even as a solidly middle-class homeowner I wonder about my long-term ability to afford my own neighborhood; Can we realistically assume that everyone should have the opportunity to just stay put? I am not sure that is possible in a dynamic urban system like Charlotte.

Edited by kermit

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1 minute ago, asthasr said:

I didn't link the article, @Scribe did, and I thought it was pretty good. Please note that they are talking about the California YIMBY movement themselves, not white people on the whole. I think it's safe to say that the YIMBY folks are mostly upper middle class white people: at least, that's what I've observed. I don't expect them to understand poverty (how many grew up in Appalachian trailer parks? not many).

As for the rest of your comment, please go jump in a lake.

Apologies on the 'you linked' comment but I do think it was garbage and your take was kinda lazy.    But if you really are equating white poverty to Appalachian trailer parks you really are showing your ignorance.   

I'll jump in a lake if you step out to the world and open your eyes.  

 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, kermit said:

I am on board with all of this, and I do acknowledge that current residents getting a fair price when selling is a big issue (and tenants are much more disadvantaged). I can certainly see the value of the status quo to individuals, but I wonder how viable that concept is in a city which is growing at 3% a year. Even as a solidly middle-class homeowner I wonder about my long-term ability to afford my own neighborhood; Can we realistically assume that everyone should have the opportunity to just stay put? I am not sure that is realistic in a dynamic urban system like Charlotte.

Probably not. However, there are sociological issues at play: poor people rely a lot on social networks for support. If you can't pay a good pre-school to keep your kid during the day, you probably rely on a relative or neighbor who you trust because you've lived there a long time. Urban and economic dynamism is awesome in many ways, but we have to figure out a way to balance that. "The right to stay where you live" is very compelling as an argument if you rely on that much more than you do your (nonexistent) money. Even fair compensation for property can't replace it. I think that's the source of poor NIMBYs and anti-gentrification movements, ultimately.

I guess you could say it more succinctly: The physical capital, although appreciating in value, does not replace the social capital that already exists.

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I am really enjoying this thread, and I thank you guys for writing such thoughtful takes on these matters.

22 hours ago, Scribe said:

I would suggest you drive through a few neighborhoods.

American suburban neighborhoods are some of the most lifeless/dullest things around. How would you determine that a neighborhood is "dangerous" or poor or what race of people live?

You go by your budget, by amenities/features, city crime stats and how it looks (how the neighbors maintain their property - yard, home, etc).  How race comes into those calculations I have no idea.

 

I can say, as a white person from this region, and against what I know is right, that I ALWAYS judge by race when I go through towns and neighborhoods. I absolutely do know better, but the programming from our culture is just so dang strong. That habitual response comes first, and only then do I start questioning my reasoning critically.

If I'm going through a somewhat rundown neighborhood or town and I see mostly modest looking white people walking around, I automatically think "Wow, how humble and quaint. Maybe this would be a nice modest place to live when the wife and I are ready to get away from city life."

If I'm going through an identical neighborhood or town and I see mostly modest looking black people walking around, I automatically think "Wow, this area is kind of rough, my wife definitely wouldn't feel safe taking walks around here, etc... [then, engage righteous self-righteous "urbanist" reflex]. I wonder what it would take to revitalize this area [starts theorizing]!"

Now, this is unequivocally wrong and inherently racist (programmed from our society). But, while I can only speak for myself,  I would wager 99.9% of people like me do the same thing, most without even getting to the second step of questioning it. In no way does it inherently make any of us bad people, it is just a reality that must be factored into any charted path forward.

22 hours ago, asthasr said:

Probably not. However, there are sociological issues at play: poor people rely a lot on social networks for support. If you can't pay a good pre-school to keep your kid during the day, you probably rely on a relative or neighbor who you trust because you've lived there a long time. Urban and economic dynamism is awesome in many ways, but we have to figure out a way to balance that. "The right to stay where you live" is very compelling as an argument if you rely on that much more than you do your (nonexistent) money. Even fair compensation for property can't replace it. I think that's the source of poor NIMBYs and anti-gentrification movements, ultimately.

I guess you could say it more succinctly: The physical capital, although appreciating in value, does not replace the social capital that already exists.

Man you just hit the apt nail on the succinct head. This is something it took me a long time to understand. I grew up in a comfortably middle-class town, but with lots of poverty around the area. It took me purposely moving out of my comfort zone to a Charlotte neighborhood with less middle class comfort to finally understand this simple fact you state: that in the absence of economic stability/comfort, social ties and personal relationships matter more than nice new things or new development.

Obviously these folks want growth and improvement, but it's a very fine line to dance when, in doing so, you inherently are bringing in residents who have no grasp of these values because they are economically stable. It's not easy

Edited by SgtCampsalot
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22 hours ago, SgtCampsalot said:

I am really enjoying this thread, and I thank you guys for writing such thoughtful takes on these matters.

I can say, as a white person from this region, and against what I know is right, that I ALWAYS judge by race when I go through towns and neighborhoods. I absolutely do know better, but the programming from our culture is just so dang strong. That habitual response comes first, and only then do I start questioning my reasoning critically.

If I'm going through a somewhat rundown neighborhood or town and I see mostly modest looking white people walking around, I automatically think "Wow, how humble and quaint. Maybe this would be a nice modest place to live when the wife and I are ready to get away from city life."

If I'm going through an identical neighborhood or town and I see mostly modest looking black people walking around, I automatically think "Wow, this area is kind of rough, my wife definitely wouldn't feel safe taking walks around here, etc... [then, engage righteous self-righteous "urbanist" reflex]. I wonder what it would take to revitalize this area [starts theorizing]!"

Now, this is unequivocally wrong and inherently racist (programmed from our society). But, while I can only speak for myself,  I would wager 99.9% of people like me do the same thing, most without even getting to the second step of questioning it. In no way does it inherently make any of us bad people, it is just a reality that must be factored into any charted path forward.

Man you just hit the apt nail on the succinct head. This is something it took me a long time to understand. I grew up in a comfortably middle-class town, but with lots of poverty around the area. It took me purposely moving out of my comfort zone to a Charlotte neighborhood with less middle class comfort to finally understand this simple fact you state: that in the absence of economic stability/comfort, social ties and personal relationships matter more than nice new things or new development.

Obviously these folks want growth and improvement, but it's a very fine line to dance when, in doing so, you inherently are bringing in residents who have no grasp of these values because they are economically stable. It's not easy

Here are the words of 4 great Americans on how to find our "better angels."

(1)  President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Address to the Massachusetts Legislature on January 9, 1961, eleven days prior to his inauguration as the 35th President of the United States of America.

"When at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each one of us  ...  our success or failure in whatever office we hold will be measured by the answers to four questions:

  • Were we truly men of courage?
  • Were we truly men of integrity?
  • Were we truly men of judgment?
  • Were we truly men of dedication?"

"Today the eyes of all people are truly upon us - and our government, in every branch, at every level, national, state and local, must be as a city upon a hill...."

(2)  President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Address to the Nation on March 15, 1965.

"There is no Negro problem.  There is no Southern problem.  There is no Northern problem.  There is only an American problem.  And we are met here tonight as Americans -- not as Democrats or Republicans -- we are met here as Americans to solve that problem."  ... "Their cause must be  our cause too.  Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice."  ... "And we shall overcome." 

(3)  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Address on the steps of the Alabama Capitol in Montgomery on March 25, 1965, following the 50 mile / 80 km March from the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma.

"I know some of you are asking today, 'How long will it take?'  I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long because truth pressed to earth will rise again."  ...  "How long?  Not long.  Because mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord  ...  His truth is marching on!"

(4)  President Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address before the partially finished U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.,  March 4, 1861.

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

Edited by QCxpat
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I have been working with Habitat since 1978.   I work on the build team at Habitat in Matthews.   My church supports Matthews Habitat.

Matthews Habitat has now built over 110 houses and Charlotte is way over a 1,000.

 

 

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@RiverwoodCLT  that is great!  how much does a new house cost these days excluding the lot about $70,000 or is it more?  I remember when I was involved it was about 50K but that was years ago. 

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Andrew Dunn, Editor-in-Chief, at Charlotte Agenda    Andrew Dunn  has written an engaging and informative 4-part series on  affordable housing in Charlotte.  

Excerpts:

"Rent continues to rise rapidly, and low- and middle-income people are quickly being priced out of Charlotte's neighborhoods as they develop and redevelop."

"Among the 'extremely low income' households, only about one-quarter are currently receiving a housing subsidy."

"Covenant Presbyterian is investing $2 million in building an affordable housing community in west Charlotte.  Myers Park Presbyterian also continues to build low-income housing in Grier Heights."

The Agenda's 4-part affordable housing primer includes:

(1) "Explainer: What Does Affordable Housing Mean in Charlotte?" Charlotte Agenda, February 21, 2017.   Link:  https://www.charlotteagenda.com/81567/affordable-housing-mean-charlotte/

(2) "As Charlotte Battles Social Injustice, Churches are Stepping Up to the Plate," Charlotte AgendaJanuary 29, 2018.  Link:   https://www.charlotteagenda.com/115234/charlotte-battles-social-injustice-churches-stepping-plate/

(3) "Salvation Army Preserves Uptown Low-Income Housing through $11 Million Sale," Charlotte AgendaApril 19, 2018.  Link: https://www.charlotteagenda.com/123944/salvation-army-preserves-uptown-low-income-housing-through-11-million-sale/

(4) "Charlotte on Pace to Solve Affordable Housing Problem in 1,200 Years," Charlotte Agenda, May 1, 2018.  Link:  https://www.charlotteagenda.com/125312/charlotte-on-pace-to-solve-affordable-housing-problem-in-1200-years/

 

charlottesville-tiny-house.jpg

A tiny house in Charlottesville. Photo via VRBO

 

Edited by QCxpat
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From The New York Times, "They Cannot Afford to Lose: The Nation's Housing Policy for the Poor may feel like a Lottery.  Sometimes it is," Times Sunday Business Section, May 13, 2018.

Link:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/12/upshot/these-95-apartments-promised-affordable-rent-in-san-francisco-then-6580-people-applied.html

Excerpts:

"The development, Natalie Gubb Commons (in San Francisco), was reserved for households with incomes up to 50 percent of the local median.   The applications were open for three weeks last fall, and 6,580 households applied for a chance to rent there, or nearly 70 for each unit."  ...   "Please don't give up, please keep trying, and please know that sometimes people have to apply several times before they get offered a unit," Maria Benjamin, who runs several of the city's affordable housing programs and the lotteries, announced before the Natalie Gubb Commons lottery on a Tuesday morning in November."

13UP-LOTTERY-8-superJumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

San Francisco's housing lotteries are now online, but the city still holds a public event to announce the results. Maria Benjamin, from the city's housing office, uses the moment to give a pep talk to discouraged tenants.

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In the early to mid 1990's I was a homeowner with a nearly hundred year old house that needed regular repairs. All the normal things plus some special skills for the effect of time and gravity on less-than-contemporary-inspection types of construction from the early 1900's. I realized that all or nearly all of the tradesmen I talked with for estimates and repair work lived outside of Mecklenburg County.  It was then that I realized I had made it onto the ladder and others had not, could not, would not. Stanly Union, Gaston and York counties served them well. I wonder if that is still true today with the expansion of Charlotte influence into those counties?

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^^^ I work with a lot of contractors and the majority live outside Mecklenburg county by choice.  Part of it is affordability, part is a desire to have more land, part of it is a desire to live in small town or rural area.  My best general contractor and all his workers live in Union County, my HVAC companies are in Union County and Cabarrus.  Neighborhoods in Charlotte are more likely to have HOAs with rules about work trucks too.   My foundation guy lived in southern York County I don't mean Rock Hill south of there. So the headlights you see pouring into Charlotte Mecklenburg at 6.30-7 am are probably these fine folks that help keep this city running but tradeoff a longer commute for life in a small town like Oakboro, Midland, China Grove, Lincolnton, Buford, Mineral Springs just to name a few. 

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WSOCTV is doing a big series on affordable housing.  One was on in gentrification and people bothering people about buying their houses.  Some people cash out of course but others want to stay put and with so many investors they get letters and calls all the time.  I own several rental homes around the metro and get these letters every week myself I just ignore them and throw them in the trash or recycling bin.  I don't get the calls as I have a fax machine hooked up to my landline LOL.  However there should be a program in place whereby an older or fixed income person should not have their tax bills jump up on a house they have long owned just because there is a new expensive house next door.  There is a state wide program that reduces the tax rate to 50% of the value if you meet certain age and income restrictions. 

https://www.wsoctv.com/news/9-investigates/9-investigates-some-charlotte-residents-feeling-pressured-to-move-by-gentrification/748332494

Other story was on finding rental housing and that market is indeed moving fast as this story says.  However this family featured might have to look further out if they can not find a home they like or afford in Charlotte.  It happens all the time in this area.   https://www.wsoctv.com/news/9-investigates-finding-affordable-housing-in-charlotte/748270981

Government will not solve this and I think the fact is this area is just getting more expensive and we are by no means the only city facing this.  

I do applaud WSOCTV for doing this series.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, KJHburg said:

Government will not solve this and I think the fact is this area is just getting more expensive and we are by no means the only city facing this. 

So zoning and code changes to increase density coupled with increased transit accessibility are pointless?

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Just now, kermit said:

So zoning and code changes to increase density coupled with increased transit accessibility are pointless?

That is part of the solution of course, but government will never solve this issue itself.   There is not enough taxes in Charlotte to completely solve an affordable housing project.  That is why I mentioned Habitat for Humanity and other groups tackling housing including a church in Belmont community. 

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5 minutes ago, KJHburg said:

That is part of the solution of course, but government will never solve this issue itself.   There is not enough taxes in Charlotte to completely solve an affordable housing project.  That is why I mentioned Habitat for Humanity and other groups tackling housing including a church in Belmont community. 

There is no reason the government needs to pay for affordable housing, all they need to do it clear the way to increase the supply of housing. They can do this via zoning, code and transit.

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2 minutes ago, kermit said:

There is no reason the government needs to pay for affordable housing, all they need to do it clear the way to increase the supply of housing. They can do this via zoning, code and transit.

They are planning a $50 million bond in Charlotte I think this fall is what the Mayor proposed.  

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Excerpts from The N.Y. Times, “Seattle OKs Tax on Companies Like Amazon to Help Homeless,” May 15, 2018:

"SEATTLE — Seattle's largest businesses such as Amazon and Starbucks will have to pay a new tax to help fund homeless services and affordable housing under a measure approved by city leaders."

"The City Council unanimously passed a compromise plan Monday that taxes businesses making at least $20 million in gross revenues about $275 per full-time worker each year — lower than the $500 per worker initially proposed. The so-called "head tax" would raise roughly $48 million a year to build new affordable housing units and provide emergency homeless services."  "'The debate over who should pay to solve a housing crisis exacerbated by Seattle's rapid economic growth comes after weeks of tense exchanges, raucous meetings and a threat by Amazon, the city's largest employer, to stop construction planning on a 17-story building near its hometown headquarters."

"Amazon, Starbucks and business groups sharply criticized the council's decision after Monday's vote. They called it a tax on jobs and questioned whether city officials were spending current resources effectively."

Link to N.Y. Times storyhttps://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/05/15/us/ap-us-amazon-seattle-tax.html

Edited by QCxpat
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