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On Tues., Jan. 26, President Biden signed several executive orders to address racial bias in housing programs. Biden signed a memorandum that directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to examine recent regulatory actions related to housing to determine their effectiveness and root out systemic racism.

“Diverse and inclusive communities strengthen our democracy. But our nation’s history has been one of great struggle toward this ideal. During the 20th century, federal, state and local governments systematically implemented racially discriminatory housing policies that contributed to segregated neighborhoods and inhibited equal opportunity and the chance to build wealth for Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American families, and other underserved communities,” stated President Biden in the memorandum.

The memorandum states that residential segregation and discrimination are present in our society, showing up as a racial gap in homeownership; in undervalued properties owned by families of color; in the disproportionated burden of pollution and exposure to climate change impact in communities of color; and in systemic barriers to safe, accessible and affordable housing for people of color, immigrants, persons with disabilities, as well as LGBTQ+ individuals.

“…it is the policy of my Administration that the Federal Government shall work with communities to end housing discrimination, to provide redress to those who have experienced housing discrimination, to eliminate racial bias and other forms of discrimination in all stages of home-buying and renting, to lift barriers that restrict housing and neighborhood choice, to promote diverse and inclusive communities, to ensure sufficient physically accessible housing, and to secure equal access to housing opportunity for all,’ continued the memorandum.

Acting U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Matthew E. Ammon said in a statement released Wednesday:

“President Biden’s executive order is a vital step toward redressing the federal government’s legacy of housing discrimination and securing equal access to housing opportunity for all.

“Racially discriminatory housing practices and policies have kept communities of color from accessing safe, high-quality housing and the chance to build wealth that comes through homeownership. To this day, people of color disproportionately bear the burdens of homelessness, pollution, climate-related housing instability, and economic inequality because of deliberate and systemic efforts to deny them fair and equal access to housing opportunity.

“Only by recognizing and acknowledging our nation’s history of housing discrimination can we begin to lift the barriers to safe, accessible, and affordable housing. With this executive order, President Biden is taking meaningful action to advance racial equity in housing and expand opportunity for all. HUD looks forward to working closely with the President and his administration to expand equitable access to housing for millions of Americans.”

You can find the entire memorandum here.

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