Race Forward Marks Fair Housing Month with New Housing, Land and Development Initiative; Tools for Community Advocates and Government Practitioners

The national racial equity organization Race Forward today recognized Fair Housing Month, which occurs every April, and vowed to continue fighting to ensure housing is viewed as a public good rather than a commodity for speculation. Over the past months, the organization has released resources to support community advocates and government practitioners in their push for equitable housing and land policies. The tools emerged from a collaborative partnership between Community Change, PolicyLink and Race Forward, and was supported by Funders for Housing and Opportunity.

“Housing is a public good and a basic human right. It must be viewed as such,” said Glenn Harris, president, Race Forward. “Everyone should have access to affordable and dignified housing. However, discriminatory practices such as access and approval for home loans, higher interest rates, and home valuation continue to increase the home wealth gap between people of color and white Americans.”

According to a November 2022 U.S. Department of the Treasury blog post, in the second quarter of 2022, the homeownership rate for white households was 75 percent compared to 45 percent for Black households, 48 percent for Hispanic households, and 57 percent for non-Hispanic households of any other race. The report highlights the overall racial wealth gaps, and the gaps in homeownership rates have changed little over the last three decades.   

The recently released tools include:

  1. Housing as a Basic Human Need: A Messaging Guide for Housing Justice
  2. The PolicyLink Housing Justice Narrative Toolkit report
  3. Government Alliance on Race and Equity’s Advancing Racial Equity in Housing, Land, and Development toolbox

In addition to the release of the tools for community organizers and government practitioners, Race Forward also announced the launch of a Housing, Land, and Development (HLD) project, which will bring a racial justice lens to government practitioners in the housing and development sector and provide them with a network to share ideas, challenges, strategies and tools. The HLD Project complements the work of the Housing Justice Narrative Partnership between PolicyLink, Community Change, and Race Forward. This partnership used research-informed housing narratives to galvanize support for housing solutions.

“We know housing and land use policies at all levels of government have harmed communities of color and government must have a major role in advancing community-identified solutions that address the root causes of racialized housing disparities to create a more just housing system,” said Gordon Goodwin, director of Race Forward’s Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE).

GARE partnered with the HLD Project, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and Ground Works Consulting to publish the Housing, Land, and Development Toolbox to offer frameworks and other resources to help housing and planning agencies transform their organizational structures and develop race-conscious housing and land use policies.