Posted on March 29, 2023

DC Government Seeks to Provide Housing Benefits Based on Race

Jack Brown, The Hill, March 27, 2023

Like the governments of many American cities, the District of Columbia apparently has embraced the notion that the government should provide benefits to people based on their skin color. Under the banner of providing “equitable outcomes,” the District has abandoned the principle of equality under the law in favor of a race-based approach. The latest example of this change is the District’s draft Racial Equity Action Plan, the final version of which is expected to be released this spring.

The inevitable outcome of this focus on “equity” is the provision of government benefits based on race. Such as in San Francisco, where a city-appointed reparations committee has recommended providing $5 million in payments to members of a specific racial group, an advisory committee of the District has recommended providing government benefits based not on need but on the color of recipients’ skin.

The District’s Black Homeownership Strike Force was established by Mayor Muriel Bowser in June 2022. Citing concerns about declining Black homeownership, Bowser asked the Strike Force to develop a plan to produce 20,000 new Black homeowners by 2030. To that end, the group released a report with a series of recommendations for achieving that goal in October.

Some of the recommendations, such as legislation to protect homeowners from solicitation and identifying ways to accelerate zoning for homeownership projects, are race-neutral. Many others, however, are not.

The Strike Force suggests creating a program to aid Black homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgages; financial support for Black homeowners who wish to rehabilitate their homes; providing homeownership units to Black homebuyers; and utilizing a $10 million Black Homeownership Fund to sell homes to Black owner-occupant homebuyers.

After a review by the mayor’s office to determine the cost and legality of these recommendations, the mayor’s proposed budget includes $10 million for the Black Homeownership Fund and $8 million to support the Strike Force’s recommendations. {snip}