White House Releases Plan to Build Black Wealth and End Racial Discrimination in Housing

The White House announced new actions to reduce the racial wealth and housing gap and to address racial discrimination in the housing market. The administration plans to build Black wealth by investing in housing and community development through the American Jobs Plan, while aligning fair housing regulations with the congressional promise of the Fair Housing Act. The White House unveiled its plan on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, in which a thriving Black community in Tulsa, Oklahoma known as “Black Wall Street” was violently attacked and devastated by white supremacists.

The plan outlines action the administration will take to address racial discrimination in the housing market. Strategies include an interagency initiative to address inequity in home appraisals, which would be led by HUD Secretary Marica Fudge. The plan states the purpose of this interagency group: “The effort will seek to utilize, quickly, the many levers at the federal government’s disposal, including potential enforcement under fair housing laws, regulatory action, and development of standards and guidance in close partnership with industry and state and local governments, to root out discrimination in the appraisal and homebuying process.”

To address racial discrimination in housing, the White House announced that an interim final rule that would restore the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and a proposed rule to reinstate the 2013 Disparate Impact rule (see Memo, 04/19). These rules have been sent for review to the HUD’s congressional authorizing committees in the House and Senate and are expected to be posted to the Federal Register next week.

The plan also includes President Biden’s “American Jobs Plan” proposals in housing and community development, including:

  • $10 billion for a Community Revitalization Fund. This fund would support civic infrastructure projects that create innovative shared amenities, spark new local economic activity, provide services, build community wealth, and strengthen social cohesion. The fund will be targeted to economically underdeveloped and underserved communities, providing $500 million in planning grants and $9.5 billion in implementation funds.
  • $15 billion in the Reconnecting Neighborhoods Program. This program would provide new grants and technical assistance to support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure that creates a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development.
  • $5 billion for a new Thriving Communities Program through the Department of Transportation to support communities eliminate persistent transportation barriers and increasing access to jobs, schools, and businesses.
  • A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit to attract private investment in the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners. These tax credits would cover the difference between total development costs (including acquisition, rehabilitation, demolition, and construction) and the sales price.
  • $5 billion for the Unlocking Possibilities Program to award flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take steps to reduce needless barriers to producing affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes. The fund would include a grant program for community engagement, technical assistance, and analysis to help communities identify the best ways to produce more affordable housing and, incentivize ending exclusionary zoning and expand housing choices.

The White House plan will leverage the government’s purchasing power to drive an additional $100 billion to Small Disadvantaged Business owners over the next five years. The president’s “American Jobs Plan” would invest $30 billion in new small business initiatives to reduce barriers to small business ownership and success. A new $1 billion grant program through the Minority Business Development Agency would be created to help minority-owned manufacturers access private capital.

NLIHC applauds the White House’s plan to take these important first steps to dismantle racist systems and structures in housing and community development. “On the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, it is critical that policymakers at every level of government advance anti-racist policies and redress the impacts of decades of intentionally racist housing and transportation policies, including redlining, blockbusting, restrictive covenants, restrictive zoning, and highway systems,” stated Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO, in a press statement.

Read the White House fact sheet at: https://bit.ly/3uO85tZ

Read NLIHC’s press statement at: https://bit.ly/3uIgzmB