Washington state legislators have introduced important legislation that creates a special purpose credit program to reduce racial disparities in homeownership in the state by providing down payment and closing cost assistance to qualified applicants.
HB 1474 and its companion SB 5496 address systemic racism in the real estate, banking, and credit industries in Washington state. These industries have for generations unfairly limited opportunities for African Americans and other people of color to purchase homes, a leading driver for the accumulation of household wealth. Racial disparity in homeownership is significantly greater now than it was before fair housing legislation in the 1960s.
Chris Ferguson is submitting the following testimony to indicate strong support from Quaker Voice for the positive steps this legislation would take.
Quaker Voice on Washington Public Policy urges advancement of [HB 1474/SB 5496]. This vital legislation will at long last address the unconscionable racial disparities in home ownership and household wealth that have persisted for many decades throughout the state of Washington.
Homeownership has long been a leading driver for the creation of household wealth. Redlining, broad discrimination in financial institutions, racially restrictive covenants, and limited access to guaranteed home mortgages have for many decades impaired the ability of African Americans to purchase homes, resulting in a massive racial household wealth disparity of 8:1 (white to Black). The implications of this disparity are grave in that home equity and household wealth greatly affect where families are able to live, attend schools, work, shop, and worship as well as their ability to invest, finance educations, and create small businesses.
As deliberations on this bill proceed, we urge you to be mindful of the injustices present in the status quo and the potential positive impact of this legislation on the racial injustice implicit in our contemporary homeownership and household wealth disparities.
For these reasons Quaker Voice on Washington Public Policy supports [HB 1474/SB 5496] and urges your advancement of it to the next step in the legislative process.