Homeownership One Way to End Racial Wealth Gap Is Homeownership – Marin Independent Journal
If you feel that our country is slowly falling apart, you may be right.
We are divided by religion, political party, race, gender, and wealth. If ignored, these divisions weaken our democracy and leave our children with a dysfunctional government and a society that demonizes anyone who disagrees with us.
Sadly, one source of this dysfunction is our federal lawmakers who fuel discontent and exacerbate these divisions, prioritizing their personal political goals and their party over their constituency or country.
The most egregious example of this legislative failure is the reluctance or inability to resolve the age-old racial conflict in our nation. The racial division is largely the result of a large and growing gap in poverty and wealth among families and communities of color.
The main contributor to our growing wealth gap is the 90-year story of mortgage discrimination that barred home loans to families of color. From 1934 to 1968, 98% of FHA and VA loans went to white families.
Today, white families have 10 times more wealth than families of color. The homeownership rate for whites is 73%, but for black families it is only 42% and for Latinos only 47%. Homeowners are 40 times the wealth of renters, which in part explains other quality of life disparities such as education, health and employment for families of color.
While there is no quick fix that can immediately close the racial wealth gap, we need to explore a new paradigm in homeownership and wealth creation. An alliance of entities that do not normally work together, but all have a social or economic interest in building a house and a community could fill the void.
Financial institutions, insurance companies, developers, building material suppliers, real estate and mortgage brokers, property companies, unions and the construction trades should come together to solve the problem. home ownership for marginalized communities.
In addition to those with a financial interest in promoting home ownership, the alliance should include government planning agencies and nonprofits focused on developing positive long-term economic and health outcomes. This new paradigm would create a platform where new and innovative ideas for dealing with the homeownership crisis and the racial wealth gap could be explored.
California suffers from a severe housing shortage, homelessness crisis and a property equity gap. The alliance described could lead California to address this civil rights issue through legislation and lead the nation.
While California executives have garnered a lot of interest in recent years, affordable housing remains a code phrase for affordable rentals. Affordable rentals are a crucial part of our social safety net, but they will not directly address the wealth gap and racial divisions that largely stem from being out of reach for home ownership.
We need to focus additional legislation on more home ownership opportunities of all types, not just single-family homes, which can give people of color more autonomy, control over their environment, and an opportunity to build intergenerational wealth.
The lack of homeownership opportunities for communities of color has led to an ever-growing racial wealth gap. Homeownership must be seen and addressed as a civil rights issue, an issue that deeply affects the future of our country and that initiates a societal healing that our legislative leaders have failed to achieve.
John Gamboa is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of California Community Builders. Hannah Phalen is a master’s student in public policy at the University of California, Goldman School of Public Policy, Berkeley, and senior program director at California Community Builders. Distributed by CalMatters.org.