Housing Advocates Unveil $500m Plan to Increase Black Homeownership In California’s Bay Area

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A group of Black citizens have been identified and selected to receive financial benefits through a government-backed and -funded reparations program. | Photo by National Association of Real Estate Brokers

Jeroslyn Johnson | Contributed

There’s a growing movement in California’s Bay Area aimed at drastically increasing the rate of homeownership within the Black community.

A coalition of more than 40 housing and community expert groups unveiled a $500 million plan last week to make housing more accessible and affordable for Black families, the Sac Observer reports. Dubbed the Bay Area Black Housing Advisory Task Force (BABHATF), the group seeks support from the local community for the “Bay Area Regional Black Housing Fund” initiative.

“The Work We Do to Reduce the Rent Burden for Black People Will Provide a Way Forward for The Bay Area Overall,” The Group Wrote in a Letter.

The organization is asking local leaders and legislature to use money from this year’s state budget to fund the initiative. In a letter drafted to raise awareness about the campaign, the coalition says the funds “will help repair the injustices that have shaped the housing experiences of Black people in the Bay Area and in California.”

“It will also create new opportunities to expand housing for Black people in places where they have largely been — and are still — excluded. Increasing Black homeownership will benefit our entire region,” task force members Fred Blackwell and Melissa Jones said.

According to the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), Black people account for the lowest rates of homeownership among California’s ethnic groups, LA Sentinel reports. Black homeownership hit its peak in 2004 with a rate of 50.98%. But it has continued to steadily decrease at a steeper curve than those of all other racial and ethnic groups in the state.

“We Envision a Bay Area with Thriving, Healthy and Resilient Black Communities, Where All Black Residents Have a Home,” Blackwell and Jones Said.

“We want a region that rebuilds Black commercial districts destroyed by highway development, regains the Black homeownership losses from the racially targeted lending schemes that drove the Great Recession, and creates the affordable housing our region has failed to deliver over the last two decades.”

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