By: Stacy M. Brown / NNPA
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge recently held a roundtable with a group of Black journalists to discuss the ongoing issue of housing inequities and the opportunities the Biden-Harris administration has pushed for African American and minority homeownership.
During the roundtable, Fudge talked about how more needs to be done to fix the racial differences in the housing market.
She stated that housing costs are inextricably linked to inflation and that HUD is committed to doing more to help ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing.
Even though there has been some progress, the Secretary said that the rate of African Americans owning their own homes is still much lower than that of white Americans.
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She pointed out that the racial wealth gap, discriminatory lending practices, and other systemic issues are all factors that contribute to this disparity.
To help address these issues, Fudge discussed several initiatives that HUD is currently working on, including expanding access to down payment assistance programs, increasing affordable housing options, and combating discriminatory lending practices.
One of the main discussion topics during the roundtable was the effect these initiatives would have on Black communities.
Fudge, a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said that fixing the housing problems in these communities is essential for economic growth and social mobility.
The Secretary also emphasized the importance of working with local governments, community organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that these initiatives effectively address the specific needs of Black communities.
Fudge further discussed the need to expand access to affordable housing in urban areas, where the cost of living is often higher than in other parts of the country.
She highlighted the importance of working with local governments to promote mixed-income housing developments, which can help to promote economic diversity and reduce segregation within these communities.
“What we are saying at HUD and the Biden-Harris administration is that we can assist you with down payment assistance, we can assist you by staying in your homes, like giving you longer mortgages, we can make sure that we treat you fairly throughout that lending process,” Fudge asserted.
“We also have resources that we have put out tons of money. We send out community development block grant money, which many of them use. We send home money to communities to help them build housing, as well as we look at a broader picture and understand the significance of the problems.”
Fudge continued to emphasize the need to address the issue of housing discrimination.
Fudge noted that HUD is working to strengthen fair housing laws and enforce them more effectively.
She emphasized that discrimination in the housing market is morally wrong and against the law and that the Biden-Harris administration is committed to taking decisive action to fix this problem.
Fudge said that the Biden-Harris administration is committed to ensuring everyone has equal access to housing and fixing the systemic problems that have led to different homeownership rates for other races.
The Secretary acknowledged that much work remained in this area but expressed her optimism that progress can be made through continued collaboration and commitment to this critical issue.
She encouraged the journalists to continue engaging with HUD and help spread awareness of the ongoing efforts to address these issues.
Fudge said HUD and the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to this issue is a positive sign that progress can be made in addressing these systemic issues and promoting more equitable access to safe and affordable housing for all Americans.
“This HUD understands what it means to invest in housing,” Fudge insisted.
“We know that when we invest in housing, we invest in people. When we invest in people, we make people feel good. When we make people feel good, we inspire them to do good, and I believe good things happen to good people.”