Biden Announces New Housing & Small Business Programs to Close Racial Wealth Gap

Announced on the centennial of the Tulsa massacre, the programs are part of a first-ever interagency effort that will also take aim at inequities in home appraisals. Photo of the White House

On Tuesday, June 1, 2021, the Biden-Harris administration announced new housing and small business programs that are designed to close the racial wealth gap. The White House released a fact sheet on the announcement with policy and implementation information.

The Proposal:

  • Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including the launch of an interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to combat housing discrimination.
    • This interagency effort will be the first one of its kind.
  • Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small, disadvantaged businesses by 50%. This will translate to an additional $100 billion over five years.

Additionally, the Administration released information regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposals to create jobs/build wealth in communities of color. These include:

  • A $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support community-led civic infrastructure projects.
  • A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit to attract private investment in (re)developing affordable homes for low/moderate-income homebuyers & homeowners.
  • $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance to existing transportation infrastructure barriers that restrict mobility in communities of color.
  • A $5 billion Unlocking Possibilities Program which will award grants to jurisdictions that take steps towards reducing needless barriers in the production of affordable housing, as well as expand housing choices for low/moderate-income individuals.
  • $31 billion allocated to small business programs that will increase access to capital for small businesses.

The History:

To this day, communities of color have been grappling with the effects of systemic racism in the housing arena. In fact, the 1921 Tulsa massacre highlights how anti-Black discrimination/violence has contributed to the racial wealth gap as it is seen today.

The Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, OK, which was once known as “Black Wall Street,” became the victim of racist mob attacks. The subsequent destruction of Black Wall Street, in combination with the policies in place at the time (such as redlining, economic immobility, and lack of access to credit/homeownership) made economic recovery unfeasible for Black Americans.

Today, according to the United States Federal Reserve Board, Black American households possess $0.13 of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by white American households. Equally as concerning, the White House’s fact sheet cited a 2018 study which found that homes in predominantly Black neighborhoods were often valued at tens of thousands of dollars less than their predominantly white neighborhood counterparts. 

To combat these inequities, the Biden-Harris Administration has proposed the aforementioned policy solutions in order to both narrow the racial wealth gap and expand investment in communities that have historically been left behind.

From Here:

As of June 1, 2021, NAR has released a statement applauding the White House’s initiatives to combat housing discrimination. DAAR joins NAR in their applause, and supports the initiatives set forth by the Biden administration to close the racial wealth gap and provide opportunities to build intergenerational wealth via home and property ownership.

For more information on NAR’s news release, please click here.

For more information on the proposals, visit the White House’s website directly by clicking here.

For questions, please reach out to Eric Fryer, DAAR’s Government Affairs Director.

June 1, 2021