Today marks Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday celebrating the birthday of the most renowned leader of America’s modern Civil Rights Movement–a movement led by many across the United States challenging systemic racial segregation and discrimination.
When Dr. King began his advocacy, the American dream of homeownership, to build wealth and provide safety and community for one’s family and children, was literally only a dream for many Black families and others historically marginalized by housing and racial discrimination. Government sanction of housing discrimination denied people of color the opportunity to buy and sell property within certain neighborhoods and relegated them to communities that became isolated, impoverished slums. Denial of the opportunity for housing also meant exclusion from high-quality education, healthcare, employment, and the benefits of other private and public resources.
Dr. King’s move to Chicago in 1966 marked a pivotal moment in the campaign to achieve fair housing in one of the most racially segregated cities in the nation. Known as the Chicago Freedom Movement, this, along with his famous ‘Other America’ speech in 1967 which highlighted disparities among Black and White Americans and called on Congress to pass fair housing legislation, was catalytic and instrumental to the eventual passing of the 1968 Fair Housing Act outlawing racial discrimination in the private housing market.
Dr. King’s legacy remains a force that continues to animate a new generation that presses for fair access to housing today. Today, the Black homeownership rate has fallen to levels prior to the signing of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This is why the Black Homeownership Collaborative was launched. Marking the first federal Juneteenth holiday in 2021, industry and advocacy groups joined around the ambitious goal to create three million net new Black homeowners by the year 2030. The Collaborative is led by a steering committee consisting of the Mortgage Bankers Association, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the National Association of REALTORS®, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the NAACP, the National Housing Conference, and the National Urban League, guided by research from the Urban Institute.
The Collaborative has established a 7-point plan that identifies a set of tangible steps to increase and sustain new and existing homeowners. These recommendations advance policy, advocacy, and education strategies to address major barriers to homeownership for many Americans.
While the goal to achieve three million net new homebuyers by 2030, 3by30, is an ambitious goal, it is backed by the efforts of its committee and stakeholders. The BHC annual report illustrates the collective strengths and framework to innovate solutions and allocate resources to reduce the racial homeownership gap. We will continue to work together to achieve this goal and forge a path toward a future where the American Dream is achievable for all Americans.
To learn more about the Black Homeownership Collaborative visit 3by30.org.