Today, President Biden announced new steps to help close the racial wealth divide by addressing racial discrimination in housing, investing in neighborhoods of color, reducing barriers to affordable housing development and expand the participation of small businesses owned by people of color in the federal procurement process. The announcement came on the 100th anniversary of the white supremacist attack on the Black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the destruction of the thriving Greenwood community known as “Black Wall Street.”
Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) made the following statement.
“The actions announced today are a downpayment on equitable investments in communities, expanded funding for affordable housing, the removal of barriers that have blocked equitable development, and the opportunity to participate in the federal procurement process.
“We need a new reality rooted in equality, not inequality, and it’s so great to see national leadership from the White House on closing the racial wealth divide. The old problems of discrimination in housing and lending and disinvestment in entire communities have festered for too long.
“The reinstatement of policies such as disparate impact and AFFH will restore critical Obama-era tools to encourage fair housing. New investments in affordable housing and the elimination of local exclusionary zoning policies will go a long way towards increasing the supply of housing critical to expanding homeownership.
“Prioritizing racial equity in federal procurement is also a critical step in ensuring the growth of our nation’s small businesses. Increasing the share of contracts for small disadvantaged businesses by 50% will represent the largest increase to date. As part of this work, the disclosure of procurement and federal spending data by race and ethnicity is critical to the accountability we need to increase the participation of businesses owned by people of color.
“But more needs to be done, and as we evaluate the success of these and other programs designed to close the racial homeownership and wealth divide, we should measure them against tangible indicators of the racial wealth divide such as a Black homeownership rate that remains largely unchanged from 50 years ago.”
Policies announced today include:
Addressing racial discrimination in housing: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published new rules to reinstate the critical 2013 Discriminatory Effects Rule which helps prevent discriminatory practices and restore crucial portions of the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule which ensures that communities that receive federal funds take steps to eliminate barriers to fair housing. HUD will also launch an interagency working group to address widespread discrimination in the home appraisal process.
Investing in neighborhoods of color through the American Jobs Plan: A new $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund would support community-led civic infrastructure projects; $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance would support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure; a new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit would attract private investment in the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners.
Reducing barriers to affordable housing: $5 billion in funding would be made available to local jurisdictions that take concrete steps to eliminate exclusionary housing policies such as minimum lot sizes and prohibitions on multifamily housing that prevent the development of much-needed affordable housing.
Expanding federal contracting opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses: The Biden-Harris administration will take steps to increase the share of contracts going to small disadvantaged businesses (SBD”s) by 50 percent (an additional $100 billion to SBD’s) by 2026. Reaching this goal includes assessing the tools available to lower the barriers traditionally-underserved entrepreneurs experiences in competing for federal contracts.