The Opportunity Starts at Home multisector affordable homes campaign has updated its vision, mission, and goal statements to explicitly center racial equity. The campaign’s Racial Equity Working Group, a subset of the Steering Committee, spearheaded this work over the past several months. The new statements are on the campaign’s homepage and represent the contributions of leading national organizations from housing, health, education, civil rights, criminal justice, food security, social work, and faith communities.
Decades of systemic racism results in race being a major factor in predicting one’s likelihood of experiencing rental cost-burdens, homelessness, and living in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. Achieving racial equity in housing means that race no longer predicts these outcomes. While the work of the campaign’s Racial Equity Working Group began before the COVID-19 pandemic and recent anti-police brutality protests, these current events instilled an even greater sense of urgency. It is clear that a direct line connects the nation’s history of racist housing policies to today’s over-policing of Black and Brown communities and to people of color being disproportionately harmed by disasters like the coronavirus.
Shaped in response to these realities, the new statements are as follows:
- Campaign Vision: The nation's historically marginalized households and those with the lowest incomes live in safe, accessible, affordable homes in neighborhoods that are free from discrimination and where everyone has equitable opportunities to thrive.
- Campaign Mission: Build a movement with stakeholders from many sectors to generate widespread support for federal policies that correct long-standing racial inequities and economic injustices by ensuring quality housing for people with low incomes.
- Long-Term Goal: Through federal housing policies that expand resources and correct long-standing structural and racial inequities, we will ensure that people with the lowest incomes can afford a good home, which adds to their quality of life through better health, greater educational attainment, and stronger earnings.
The new vision, mission, and goal statements will inform all campaign activities from advancing policy solutions to educating elected officials, opinion leaders, and the public. The new statements are an important step in an ongoing effort by the campaign’s Racial Equity Working Group to raise awareness of historical and persistent racial discrimination in housing and to elevate solutions that rectify these pernicious inequities.
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