President Joe Biden announced new measures on Tuesday that his administration will take to help narrow the racial wealth gap in America.
Biden announced the initiatives during his speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he was there to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
“I come here to help fill the silence. Because in silence, wounds deepen,” Biden said. “As painful as it is, only in remembrance do wounds heal. We simply can’t bury pain and trauma forever.”
The Biden Administration plans several changes in what it calls “two key wealth-creators” – homeownership and small business ownership in communities of color.
“Shockingly, the percentage of black American home ownership is lower today than it was 50 years ago, and that’s wrong and we’re committed to changing that,” the president said on Tuesday.
The new efforts will address the racial discrimination in the housing market by developing and building affordable homes in low and mid-income areas. There are also plans to support civic infrastructure with a $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund. The goal of this fund is to spark new local economic activity and build community wealth.
Some of the plans include reusing buildings to provide services like health centers, cultural and art spaces, among other goals.
The administration will also 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.
Additionally, the White House announced additional steps to end discrimination and bias in the housing market, including discrimination in home appraisals.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has rolled back two Trump-era Fair Housing rules that weaken protections.
President Biden is charging Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge with leading a first-of-its-kind interagency initiative to address inequity in home appraisals.
Some of the other highlights of the plan include:
- $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.
Some of these initiatives hinge on Biden’s American Jobs Plan passing through Congress, where it is still being negotiated.