One hundred years ago, the thriving Black community of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street,” was ruthlessly attacked by a violent white supremacist mob. An estimated 300 Black Americans were killed and another 10,000 were left destitute and homeless.
The destruction wrought on the Greenwood neighborhood and its families was followed by laws and policies that made recovery nearly impossible. The streets were redlined, locking Black Tulsans out of homeownership and access to credit. Federal highways built through the heart of Greenwood cut off families and businesses from economic opportunity. And chronic disinvestment by the federal government in Black entrepreneurs and small businesses denied Black Wall Street a fair shot at rebuilding. These are the stories of Greenwood, but they have echoes in countless Black communities across the country.
Because disparities in wealth compound like an interest rate, the disinvestment in Black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still felt sharply today. The median Black American family has thirteen cents for every one dollar in wealth held by White families.
Today, on the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new steps to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in communities that have been left behind by failed policies. Specifically, the Administration is expanding access to two key wealth-creators – homeownership and small business ownership – in communities of color and disadvantaged communities.
The Administration will:
* Take action to address racial discrimination in the housing market, including by launching a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals, and conducting rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination.
* Use the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
The Administration is also releasing new information regarding President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposals to create jobs and build wealth in communities of color:
* A new $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support community-led civic infrastructure projects that create innovative shared amenities, spark new local economic activity, provide services, build community wealth, and strengthen social cohesion.
* $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance to support the planning, removal, or retrofitting of existing transportation infrastructure that creates a barrier to community connectivity, including barriers to mobility, access, or economic development.
* A new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit to attract private investment in the development and rehabilitation of affordable homes for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners.
* $5 billion for the Unlocking Possibilities Program, an innovative new grant program that awards flexible and attractive funding to jurisdictions that take steps to reduce needless barriers to producing affordable housing and expand housing choices for people with low or moderate incomes.
* $31 billion in small business programs that will increase access to capital for small businesses and provide mentoring, networking, and other forms of technical assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged businesses seeking to access federal contracts and participate in federal research and development investments.
Taking Action to End Racial Discrimination in the Housing Market. The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing additional steps to end discrimination and bias in the housing market. More than 50 years since the Fair Housing Act’s passage, access to wealth through homeownership remains persistently unequal.
In his first week in office, President Biden issued a memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to address discrimination in our housing market. Today, the Administration is announcing that it is taking critical steps towards realizing the President’s directive.
HUD has now sent both its proposed rule on countering housing practices with discriminatory effects and its proposed interim final rule on the legal duty to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing to HUD’s Congressional authorizing committee in the Senate and the House of Representatives for review and will publish them in the Federal Register next week. These proposed rules will align federal
enforcement practice with the congressional promise in the Fair Housing Act to end discrimination in housing and will collectively provide the legal framework for HUD to require private and public entities alike to rethink established practices that contribute to or perpetuate inequities.