Kamala Harris announces $100B plan for black home ownership, tackling racial wealth gap
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., announced Saturday that she would invest $100 billion of federal money into housing assistance for black families as part of an effort to close the racial wealth gap in the United States if elected President.
“After generations of discrimination, it’s time to give Black families a real shot at homeownership,” Harris tweeted on Saturday.
While appearing at Essence’s Global Black Economic Forum, she emphasized the role of home ownership in driving the growth of wealth in the U.S. According to Harris’ campaign, she would help 4 million homebuyers through down-payment and closing-cost assistance — granting up to $25,000 from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“If we eliminate racial wealth disparities in home ownership rates, median Black wealth would grow $32,113 per household, and the wealth gap between Black and white households would shrink 31 percent,” her campaign said.
The program would target residents in red-lined communities — areas the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation has dissuaded lenders from investing in — which her campaign identified as a culprit behind wealth disparities.
“Redlining has resulted in households of color receiving just 2% of the [Federal Housing Administration] loans expanded between 1934-1962, and formerly redlined neighborhoods are sites of deep racial disparities in home value and lending activity,” an information sheet from her campaign read.
Her plan would also seek to increase credit access by alter crediting reporting standards to include payments on credit cards, student loans, auto loans, and mortgage payments.
The announcement came after polling showed her advancing amid a dispute with the frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, over comments he made about racial issues.
After she targeted Biden during the first Democratic primary debate, Biden’s lead dropped in a Quinnipiac poll. That same poll showed Harris rising from 7 percent to 20 percent and leading Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Racial issues have become a major topic as many Democrats accused the administration of bias against minorities. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, also sought to address racial wealth disparities with a plan that would vastly expand the federal government’s investment in women- and minority-owned businesses.
It also would redirect $100 billion in federal contracting toward small businesses, expand access to mentorship opportunities, open a public credit reporting agency and work through certain avenues to expand access to markets and capital.