Bay Area Coalition Asks Governor For Housing Fund For Black Residents – NBC Bay Area

A coalition of Bay Area elected officials, racial justice activists and housing advocates are calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to prioritize housing for Black Bay Area residents by investing in a targeted fund.

Representatives of the Bay Area Black Housing Advisory Task Force urged the governor in a virtual press conference Monday to set aside $500 million for a new fund that would help ease some of the historic burdens that had a disproportionate impact on black owners of the bay. Area.

San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley have each lost between 40 and 50 percent of their black residents over the past 30 years, according to the task force. East Palo Alto lost 60% of its black residents during this time.

“The proposed budget that is currently based on the $98 billion surplus fails to meet the housing needs of Black communities across the Bay Area, but there is still time,” said Melissa Jones, executive director. of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, which created the housing task force.

Jones pointed to the generational targeting of black homeownership through policies such as red lining, looming estate, predatory lending and state-sanctioned discrimination in the housing market.

According to Jones, the fund would be used to provide down payment assistance to low- and middle-income applicants, preserve black housing in current neighborhoods, provide free development resources for housing development by black-led developers and preserve cultural neighborhoods and institutions.

The proposal is supported by State Senator Scott Weiner and Assemblywoman Lori Wilson.

Wilson said she was proud to support the budget request.

“We see firsthand the systemic challenges facing Black families, and we are committed to improving the health and well-being of our Black communities,” Wilson said.

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said housing has been identified as a health and equity issue. He pointed out that dedicated public funding would help local governments leverage the fund to increase their purchasing power.

Dmitra Smtih, vice president, NAACP Sonoma, said current housing programs have proven inadequate.

A state reparations task force released an interim report on June 1 that identified several areas of systemic inequality caused by racist state policies to address, including housing.

“In California, federal, state, and local governments have created segregation through discriminatory federal housing policies, zoning ordinances, decisions about where to build schools, and known discriminatory federal mortgage policies. under the name of redlining,” the report said. A final report is expected by July 1, 2023.

“If we’re really serious about reparations, at a time when we have the money, we need to make sure we get $500 million, which is just a drop in the ocean. , to begin to address this issue,” Alameda County Supervisor Keith said. Carson.

Oakland City Council member Treva Reid said she believes homelessness is the number one issue facing the Bay Area.

The task force is made up of more than 40 housing and community building organizations and was created as part of the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, which is a partnership of 11 Bay Area public health departments. Bay.

A final budget agreement is expected on July 1.