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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) proposed a $100 billion plan to encourage black homeownership on Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.
The plan calls for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to make $25,000 available to black buyers to help with down payments and closing costs.
Harris - Credit - Rating - Agencies - Way
Harris also proposes to require credit rating agencies to change the way they rate borrowers, and to pass tougher anti-discrimination laws.
“By taking these steps we can shrink the wealth gap between Black and White households by at least one third,” Harris told the festival. Her speech was well-received, with Daily Kos reporting that it “rock[ed] the house.”
Statement - Website - Harris - Gap - Home
In a statement on her website, Harris blamed the racial gap in home ownership on redlining — banks’ historical practice of denying loans to buyers within certain geographic areas — and on the G.I. Bill, which disproportionately benefited white veterans.
She also blamed the Great Recession — though without citing any particular discriminatory action:
Black - Minority - Families - Mortgage - Crisis
Black and minority families were also disproportionately impacted by the subprime mortgage crisis and the subsequent Great Recession. Throughout the subprime market, Black borrowers were subjected to higher cost and higher risk loans than white borrowers, even when both had similar levels of creditworthiness. During the years of recovery, 2009-2011, the wealth gap between white households and households of color widened in part due to housing-market weakness.
Previously, President George W. Bush had made increased homeownership by black and Hispanic Americans a priority. In 2002, he declared: “Too many American families,...
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