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New BPC Report Outlines Key Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Housing, Calls for Sustained Policymaker Focus

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Natalie Rogers
Media Relations Manager, J. Ronald Terwilliger Housing Policy Center

Washington, DC – Despite the decades that have passed since landmark civil rights legislation sought an end to discriminatory housing policies, ample research shows dramatic racial and ethnic disparities in housing persist—linked to a long history of discrimination and perpetuated by a mix of government policies, economic factors, and individual prejudices and preferences. Black households, along with Hispanics and other people of color, face disproportionately high housing cost burdens, entrenched patterns of segregation and concentrated poverty, and distinct challenges accessing homeownership and building family wealth.

A new report, released by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Council, catalogues and collates recent housing research to lay bare the most striking racial and ethnic disparities as the basis for charting a viable path forward. Acknowledging that significant disparities in housing exist across racial and ethnic groups is an essential first step in devising new, bold, and innovative policy solutions.

“The pandemic has triggered public health and economic crises with disproportionate impacts on low-income, Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous households,” said Andy Winkler, BPC director of housing and infrastructure policy. “As America continues to combat the spread of COVID-19 and recover economically, we must sustain the focus on making housing a source of safety and strength for all families and in all communities.”

The report concludes: “The challenges we face in housing today—a severe shortage of affordable rental homes; unsustainably high rent burdens; homelessness; high barriers to first-time homeownership—affect Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. However, these problems disproportionately impact people of color, particularly Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous households. Reducing these disparities and improving the housing situations of Americans of all backgrounds should be a national priority.”

BPC’s Housing Council is comprised of over 20 of the nation’s leading housing experts—including current and former federal, state, and local public officials, academics, practitioners, and industry leaders.

Launched in March 2021, the council is working with BPC to identify and release a set of bipartisan recommendations policies in early 2022 to:

  • Meet the continued housing needs of Americans affected by COVID-19
  • Advance racial equity and opportunity through housing—by addressing disproportionately high housing costs, entrenched segregation and concentrated poverty, and disparities in homeownership and family wealth
  • Preserve and build affordable homes to strengthen families and their financial resilience and propel our country’s economic recovery

Support for this report and BPC’s Housing Council were provided by the Ballmer Group, Melville Charitable Trust, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Read the report here

Click here for more information on BPC’s Housing Council.