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Biden plans new housing, small business programs to tackle racial wealth gap

POLITICO logo POLITICO 6/1/2021 By Katy O'Donnell
The Biden administration plans to launch an inter-agency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and issue new rules to combat housing discrimination. © Evan Vucci/AP Photo The Biden administration plans to launch an inter-agency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and issue new rules to combat housing discrimination.

The White House on Tuesday announced new housing and small business programs designed to help narrow the wealth gap between Black and white Americans, as President Joe Biden marked the 100-year anniversary of the racist "Black Wall Street" massacre in Tulsa, Okla.

The Biden administration plans to launch what it said was a first-of-its-kind, inter-agency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and issue new rules to combat housing discrimination, according to a White House fact sheet. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge is scheduled to appear in Tulsa with Biden Tuesday.

In addition, the administration said it planned to boost federal contracting with “small disadvantaged businesses” by 50 percent, awarding $100 billion over five years.

“Because disparities in wealth compound like an interest rate, the disinvestment in Black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still felt sharply today,” the White House said, noting that the “median Black American family has 13 cents for every one dollar in wealth held by white families.”

The White House also released new details about Biden’s infrastructure and jobs package, including a new $10 billion Community Revitalization Fund to support community-led civic infrastructure projects; $15 billion for new grants and technical assistance to tackle transportation infrastructure barriers to mobility; and $5 billion for a new grant program to induce localities to roll back exclusionary zoning.

Another $31 billion in the proposal would go to small business initiatives to increase access to capital for small businesses and provide various forms of technical assistance to “socially and economically disadvantaged" firms seeking federal contracts.

The plan also calls for the establishment of a new tax credit to draw private investment to the construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income homebuyers and homeowners.

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