HouseATL is pleased to work alongside the Atlanta Voice and many other partners to close the gap between Black and white homeownership levels. HouseATL is a cross-sector group of civic leaders committed to building the public will for a coordinated housing affordability action plan for Atlanta. The vision of our members is that Atlanta will have a shared, comprehensive set of policies and adequate funding to address housing affordability. Since 2018, our members have worked together to define root causes of the affordable housing challenge, examine the data, look at best practices and engage in thoughtful problem-solving to make concrete recommendations on a path forward.
One of HouseATL’s volunteer driven working groups is focused on promoting homeownership opportunities and on assisting existing homeowners with the preservation of their homes. One of the challenges the Homeownership Working Group has been grappling with is Georgia’s 25% gap between white and Black homeownership levels. Nationally, the racial gap in homeownership is larger than it was in 1960, when race-based discrimination in homeownership was legal.
During our country’s long history of systemic racism, housing was used to segregate races and to economically elevate white families while preventing economic growth for Black families. Federal programs that promote homeownership as a path to build wealth, including the mortgage interest deduction, the GI Bill and Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance, were not equitably available. It wasn’t until after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 that Black people had full legal protection from housing discrimination, but bias persisted in public systems. Additionally, in the private sector we have seen how racial bias has contributed to housing opportunity gaps, such as documented differences in appraisals between similar homes owned by white people and Black people and the targeted predatory lending to Black communities prior to the foreclosure crisis.
HouseATL’s Homeownership Working Group is preparing strategic recommendations to help close the gap in Atlanta. These recommendations will be released this fall, as part of an overall call to action for Atlanta on affordable housing, similar to the 2018 release of recommendations. Our members will then be working together both to implement the recommendations and to hold others accountable for progress. For more information about how to get involved, please visit HouseATL’s website at www.houseatl.org.
- 1.National Association of Realtors – https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2022-snapshot-of-race-and-home-buying-in-the-us-04-26-2022.pdf
- 2.National Association of Realtors – https://cdn.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2022-snapshot-of-race-and-home-buying-in-the-us-04-26-2022.pdf
- 3. Example – https://propertytaxproject.uchicago.edu/
- 4.The Federal Housing Finance Administration recently released 47 million appraisal reports from 2013-2021 to allow for analysis. Homes in white neighborhoods appraised as much as 3x higher than a similar home in a community of color.
- 5.Saporta Report – https://saportareport.com/task-force-lays-out-affordability-proposal-at-housing-forum/