California Sen. Kamala Harris unveiled a $100 billion plan to invest in black homeownership — a proposal the 2020 presidential candidate said that, if elected, would set in motion her broader plan to tackle the US racial wealth gap.
“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 said in a speech Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans in what promises to be the beginning of a series of policy rollouts focusing on the black community.
Under Harris’ proposal, homebuyers who rent or live in historically redlined communities can apply for a federal grant of up to $25,000 to assist with down payments or closing costs. Harris’ campaign estimates that this will help up to 4 million families.
Redlining is the discriminatory practice of denying financial or other services for low-income and minority communities.
Harris’ policy proposal also aims to prevent discrimination in home sales, rentals and loans by promising to strengthen and strictly enforce anti-discrimination laws.
The proposal also would increase funding for the Housing Education and Counseling (HEC) 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.
Harris’ housing proposal is the beginning of her campaign’s multi-pronged agenda aimed at fixing issues that disproportionately affect people of color.
“And in the coming weeks I’ll announce new investments to support black entrepreneurs and business owners by increasing access to credit and capital,” Harris said Saturday.
Harris’ education proposal — her first major policy as a presidential candidate — would boost teacher pay, make additional investments in public schools and support programs dedicated to teacher recruitment, training and professional development, particularly at historically black colleges and universities.