The past year has seen an increasing awareness of racism and white supremacy in the U.S.. The Florida Housing Coalition (FHC), an NLIHC state partner organization, is attempting to address disparities in housing in Florida by creating a Center for Racial Equity. The center serves as a composite platform for the Coalition's efforts focused on race and equity in public and private investments, regulations, and legal and policy frameworks that shape Florida's neighborhoods, cities, and regions.
The Center for Racial Equity is a major initiative for the FHC, growing out of discussions among FHC staff about how to address the racial inequities in housing resulting from a long history of zoning, land development, and housing finance discrimination. The FHC has become increasingly concerned about the substantial and growing disparity between Black and white homeownership, especially after the pandemic’s economic impact. FHC will use this center to equip localities, nonprofits, and racial equity advocates with resources, data, support, and technical assistance to address racial disparities in the housing industry.
Closing the Racial Disparity Gap in Homeownership (Closing the Gap) is the first program to launch under the initiative. It is a 3-to-1 matching grant program led by the center’s two major underwriters, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. Additional programs include a free “Leading with Equity” course, a “Glossary of Shared Language” for an equity dialogue, a “BIPOC Support and Connect” program, policy work, and a virtual conference in August. The center will also launch a CRE internship program for Florida’s historically Black colleges and universities.
“The Florida Housing Coalition has already seen positive results from creating the Center for Racial Equity through our process of enlisting allies,” says Jaimie Ross, president and CEO at the Florida Housing Coalition. “We are using a large tent for this work, so working with allies, organizations with racial equity missions, and organizations who support racial equity, broadens the reach of our coalition’s impact enormously.
NLIHC is currently working to formalize our planning on centering racial equity as well and looks forward to learning about other groups doing this type of work.
Read more about FHC’s racial equity work at: https://bit.ly/2P6tSOs