Harris releases $100 billion plan to close racial homeownership gap

White House hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) released a $100 billion plan to invest in black homeownership Saturday, saying the proposal was one step toward closing the overall racial wealth gap. 

Harris cited a study saying eliminating racial disparities in homeownership could boost the median black wealth by $32,113 per household and shrink the wealth gap between black and white households by 31 percent. The plan would have similar impacts for Hispanic households.

{mosads}“So we must right the wrong and, after generations of discrimination, give black families a real shot at homeownership, historically one of the most powerful drivers of wealth,” Harris told the Essence Festival on Saturday in New Orleans. 

The plan would establish a $100 billion-dollar grant through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, of which up to $25,000 can be given to families or individuals to help with down payments and closing costs. Harris’s campaign said the grant could benefit up to 4 million families. 

The grant is specifically for those who are purchasing a principal residence and have lived for at least 10 years in a historically redlined community. Grantee families cannot have an annual income of more than $100,000 or $125,000 in high-cost areas, and grantee individuals cannot make more than $50,000 or $75,000 in high-cost areas. 

Redlining refers to the practice of banks to refuse to lend to poor and minority communities.

Harris’s proposal would also strengthen enforcement of anti-discrimination laws to prevent discrimination in home sales, rentals and loans and expand funding for the Housing Education and Counseling program, which provides financial literacy for first-time homeowners.

“By taking these steps, we can shrink the wealth gap between black and white households by at least one-third,” Harris said Saturday.

Harris, one of three black candidates running in the Democratic presidential primary, has sought to expand her appeal among African American voters in recent weeks, saying after last week’s debate that she’s still introducing herself to America. She hinted in New Orleans that she will roll out more policies to help close the racial wealth gaps in America.

“In the coming weeks, I’ll announce new investments to support black entrepreneurs and business owners by increasing access to capital and credit,” she said. “By taking these challenges on, we can close that gap. And that not only lifts up black America; it lifts up all of America.”


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