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The Inclusive Economy

CFED’s Strategy to Make Homeownership More Affordable

By Merrit Gillard on 04/10/2017 @ 10:00 AM

Tags: News, Housing and Homeownership, Racial Wealth Divide

Homeownership has long been the largest asset that most U.S. families own. Yet many families—especially those of color—have been locked out of the opportunity to buy a home of their own. Making things worse, in the run-up to the housing crisis, predatory practices stripped away the homeownership advances that communities of color had made in recent decades. Meanwhile, people of color who do buy homes don't enjoy the same wealth-building benefits as White homeowners. Today, homeownership remains one of the largest drivers of the racial wealth divide. But, as our latest report highlights, it doesn't have to be that way.

For many years, CFED’s homeownership work has focused largely on building housing equity and stability for residents of manufactured homes. Now, we are greatly expanding the scope of our homeownership strategy to support access to the financing, services and housing options that all families need in order to successfully become homeowners.

One of the first items on the agenda is to develop a policy strategy for closing the racial homeownership divide. That's why our recently released report, A Downpayment on the Divide, explores the decades of racist policies and real estate industry practices that have created deep racial disparities in homeownership. The report proposes a number of simple, common-sense policies that would ease this divide in homeownership, such as protecting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reforming the tax code, ensuring access to affordable mortgage credit, promoting alternative credit scoring models and expanding the CDFI Fund. While there is no silver bullet to reverse the years of discrimination that people of color have experienced in the housing market, these recommendations taken together have the potential to create a more positive and equitable housing market going forward.

The report also underscores the importance of protecting fair lending and anti-discrimination policies. CFED has been working with national partners to ensure that the Fair Housing Act and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule remain in effect and that leaders in the new Administration show a serious commitment to fighting discrimination in the housing market. Given that this month is National Fair Housing Month, we will be taking the opportunity to educate lawmakers about the importance of fair housing policies and fighting threats to fair housing law in Congress. Find out more about how you can engage in this work here.

Also coming up this week is an exciting event on the intersection of homeownership and the racial wealth divide. On April 12, CFED will bring together the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Capital Area Asset Builders, Urban Institute, and other local and national experts to discuss race and homeownership, the policy recommendations in our recent report and other promising work in the field to expand homeownership opportunities. RSVP here!

We believe that many more Americans can get on the path to homeownership, but we can't achieve this ambitious agenda alone. If you want to get involved in making homeownership more affordable—or if you just want to learn more about our upcoming events, publications and advocacy opportunities—sign up today to connect with Affordable Homeownership @ CFED!

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