Biden to announce billions for racial equity in housing during Tulsa visit

Exclusive: President Biden is focusing on the racial disparity in homeownership and Black home appraisals that are considerably lower for Black homeowners versus white homeowners

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President Joe Biden’s visit to the Greenwood district comes as the nation recognizes 100 years since 10,000 Black people were displaced as a result of a white mob that burned the 35 block radius of the wealthy Black enclave in 1921. 

theGrio is on the ground in Tulsa, Oklahoma with the president for his meeting with survivors of the massacre.

President Biden is slated to announce billions of dollars in federal funding toward racial equity in housing while he’s in Tulsa and giving remarks at the Greenwood Cultural Center.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marcia Fudge, is accompanying the president as well as Biden Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond

Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice is also traveling aboard Air Force One with President Biden for the historic trip. Former Ambassador Rice, in an exclusive interview, told theGrio that “President Biden is taking some important steps that will help close the racial wealth gap and increase opportunity for disadvantaged communities across the country.”

Read More: 100 years after Tulsa Massacre, fight remains for insurance companies to pay up

Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on January 26, 2021 in Washington, DC. Rice discussed plans for President Biden’s racial equity agenda. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A particular focus is being placed on the racial disparity in homeownership and Black home appraisals that are considerably lower for Black homeowners versus white homeowners in the same community with similar housing comparables.

Just last month, a Black woman in Indianapolis saw her home value jump after she removed traces that her home was Black-owned.

Read More: Home appraisal for Black couple skyrockets after white friend pretends to be homeowner

Policies for the appraisal issue would be a first-of-its-kind effort. It has become one of those loud and viral conversations about Black homes sales that the administration has taken note of. Some homeowners understanding the problem have gotten crafty by putting white people’s pictures in frames in place of their own Black family to increase appraisal prices. 

Entertainer and real estate professional Ronnie DeVoe of Bell Biv DeVoe and New Edition is not buying into the plans to tackle racism in the home value process too easily, as years of racism have jaded his thinking when it comes to moving forward in real estate. 

“For most people, equitable and fair homeownership is the best way to begin the process of having financial freedom,” DeVoe said.

Ronnie DeVoe, theGrio.com
Ronnie DeVoe at day one of Genius Talks, sponsored by AT&T, during the 2017 BET Experience at Los Angeles Convention Center on June 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for BET)

“Unfortunately, we live in a country that talks a good game but when it comes down to it, the numbers don’t lie. The homeownership rates for Black people are lower than in the ’60s when it was legal to discriminate. That was before the Fair Housing Act was signed and look what that’s done for us.” 

DeVoe highlights that the needs of the Black community are moving beyond small payments as he contends reparations are due to address the many structural challenges the community is facing. 

“We’ve struggled for too long under a system of supremacy that blatantly and purposefully keeps its foot on our necks” DeVoe added. “If we weren’t such a resilient people, who knows where we would be waiting on politicians to help us.“

Read More: Biden to announce funding for affordable housing, broadband in jobs plan

Black Americans saw the largest number of home ownerships during the Bill Clinton presidency. The numbers were targeted by banks with predatory loans during the George W. Bush‘s presidency where many Blacks were foreclosed on because of these loans.  

A home stands for sale in a Brooklyn
A home stands for sale in a Brooklyn neighborhood with a limited supply of single family homes on March 31, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Now in 2021, HUD Secretary Fudge contends Black homeownership numbers in this nation are now at the levels of 1968, the year the Federal Fair Housing Act became law. 

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to deny someone housing solely because of color, race, religion, sex, national origin, disability or family status. 

Two other big issues for the president’s Black Wall Street speech will include an emphasis on government procurement and voting rights. 

There is active planning led by the Biden administration to try to increase by 50% of government procurement over the next five years to channel a goal of $100 million in procurement to small disadvantaged businesses.

Additionally, the president is taking on the new restrictive voting laws in Georgia, Florida and Texas that are pushing constitutional boundaries with new rules that target when and how you vote. 

President Biden has called these efforts anti-democractic and continues to challenge the new measures. 

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