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BPC Statement on Biden Administration’s Executive Action on Systemic Racism in Housing

Washington, D.C– The following is a statement from Andy Winkler, associate director of housing and infrastructure policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, on the Biden administration’s recent executive action directing the Department of Housing and Urban Development to address systemic racism in housing:  

“In the past, systemic and legalized housing discrimination segregated communities by race. While federal civil rights legislation worked to end the most overt discriminatory practices, research has shown that this history can be traced to observed racial inequities today—including disproportionately high housing cost burdens, entrenched patterns of segregation and concentrated poverty, and stark disparities in homeownership and family wealth.  

This executive action is an early demonstration of the Biden administration’s commitment to centering racial equity and justice in its policymaking. Yet we must also be clear-eyed about the task ahead and understand the limitations and impermanence of executive action. 

Over the years, the most lasting and meaningful federal efforts to combat discrimination, support fair housing practices, and invest in affordable housing have only advanced with bipartisan cooperation—from then-President Lyndon Johnson and Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-IL) working collaboratively to pass the Fair Housing Act of 1968 to the compromises that led to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, creating the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.  

Of the many, profoundly difficult challenges facing our country, seeking to undo and address the historical harm caused to Black, Indigenous, and other racial minorities requires courage and creativity to overcome differences. We are encouraged by the administration’s commitment, and stand ready to help create a constructive, bipartisan dialogue on housing policies that further racial equity and opportunity.” 

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