According to Slate, Senator Elizabeth Warren created an extensive housing plan called the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act. The plan intends to reverse and remove decades of governmental housing discrimination and to close the racial wealth gap that has accompanied that discrimination.
While disparities in economic equality can find their roots in as far back as slavery, the housing crisis that can be easily traced to present-day started in the era of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While “Roosevelt’s New Deal built an American middle class,” it also built an extreme racial pay gap via programs and practices that “were discriminatory in practice.” The New Deal birthed “redlining,” which was the process of government and private institutions “refusing to provide loans” to whomever they chose, which ended up mostly affecting the black community.
Decades of “lending and housing discrimination” aided in creating a deep-rooted and stagnant racial wealth gap. Families became victim to a discriminatory system that made it difficult, if not near-impossible, to overcome economic inequality. In fact, they were battling a system that was ensuring their economic inequality.
One government policy that attempted to override and fix the effects of The New Deal only ended up worsening the issue. The Fair Housing Act was actually a segregating policy that continued to “steer blacks away from high-amenity white neighborhoods.”
As these discriminations have been ongoing for generations, they heavily affect children who are “confined…to low wealth and low asset appreciated ZIP codes.” Meaning, the housing that black people have been confined to are not the only issue they are subject to in their neighborhoods. Low wealth areas are prone to have low-government funded schools, parks, and cultural institutions. Poor schooling only decreases the chances of overcoming economic equality, which only adds to the government’s role in ensuring the racial wealth gap.
However, Warren’s bill intends to move away from these discriminatory practices and institutions in order to enact real change. Included in the bill is a “down payment assistance program designed to support families who were historically excluded from government programs.” The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act also aims to aid black families who rent their homes, which they have been forced to do via “historic exclusion from the housing market.” Renting as opposed to buying inhibits families’ abilities to save money, which only adds to the wealth gap.
Hopefully, Warren’s bill will pass and decades of housing and economic discrimination will begin to reverse.