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How to Shrink the Racial Homeownership Gap
The gap in homeownership between black and white Americans is greater than it was in 1983, according to the "State of the Nation's Housing 2018" report from the Joint Center for the Study of Housing of Harvard University; just 43 percent of Black Americans owned homes in 2017, compared with 72 percent of whites. Teri Williams, a leader in the #BankBlack movement, lays out five strategies to combat the effects of the nation's racial wealth gap, shortage of affordable housing, and historically racist housing and banking policy.
One notable suggestion is beefing up first-time homebuyer programs, not only by increasing funding, but also by offering up municipal property. Rather than auctioning property acquired through foreclosures to investors, "a better alternative to diversify neighborhoods, offset gentrification and support community values would be to deed these properties to Black residents, organizations that offer first-time homebuyer programs or local private developers that partner with these organizations," Williams writes. Another recommendation is awarding Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credits to banks for every loan provided to a Black first-time homebuyer.