DC mayor introduces $10M plan to help increase Black homeownership

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) speaks during a ceremony to unveil a statue of Pierre L'Enfant by artist Gordon Kray on Monday, February 28, 2022.
Greg Nash

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Thursday introduced a $10 million fund aimed at increasing Black homeownership in the city.

Bowser unveiled the fund, which is part of her fiscal 2023 budget, and the creation of a strike team of housing experts in a press release.

The mayor also announced the news on Thursday at a conference with the National Fair Housing Alliance, where Bowser said increasing Black homeownership was vital to improving economic prosperity for African Americans.

Bowser, who is Black, also said her experience buying a home has helped her achieve wealth.

“We know how people build wealth in their communities and it’s in their homes,” Bowser said, saying she bought a house when she was 27 that is now worth $600,000. “That allows me to think boldly about my daughter’s future. That is what homeownership means to people like me.”

According to Bowser’s administration, only 34 percent of Black D.C. residents own their homes, compared to 49 percent of white residents.

A first-time D.C. Black household can afford 8.4 percent of homes in the District sold between 2016 and 2020, while a purchaser with the average income of a white household could afford 71 percent of these homes, a disparity the mayor’s administration says has only grown larger.

The Urban Institute in 2016 said D.C. is one of the most racially segregated cities in the U.S. because of past public policies that limited where Black residents could live or who they could get mortgages from.

A strike force of housing experts and community representatives will work through the summer to study how the mayor’s new program will work and how the $10 million fund will support Black homeownership investment.

Bowser will appoint the panel, which will deliver a report within 120 days.

Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said the initiative will look at how to “overcome historic injustices that we as a city and as a nation have failed to address and led to the racial wealth gap.”

“The wealth gap in the District of Columbia is exacerbated by the homeownership gap, which exists in no small part because of discriminatory policies supported by the federal government such as redlining,” he said in a statement. “One way to overcome intentional policies like redlining is to find new ways to greenlight homeownership.”

Tags homeownership Muriel Bowser Washington, D.C.

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