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Civil Rights, Consumer Protection, and Housing Policy Organizations Applaud Senator Raphael Warnock’s Introduction of the $100 Billion Downpayment Toward Equity Act, Call for Its Immediate Passage

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Washington, D.C. — Following Senator Raphael Warnock’s (D-GA) introduction of the Senate companion to the Downpayment Toward Equity Act, which would allocate $100 billion in funding for first-time homebuyers, the National Fair Housing Alliance, the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, the National Urban League, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the Center for Responsible LendingUnidosUS, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued the following statement:

“Homeownership remains one of the most important drivers of wealth creation, yet it remains elusive for many socially and economically disadvantaged families. Our organizations applaud Senator Raphael Warnock and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) for introducing the Downpayment Toward Equity Act in the U.S. Senate. If enacted, this crucial targeted down payment-assistance legislation has the potential to create 5 million first-generation homebuyers, including 1.7 million Black and 1.32 million Latino borrowers.

“Homeownership—long a core element to achieving the American Dream—has become increasingly unattainable for millions of American families, with communities of color faring the worst. The current Black homeownership rate is as low as it was in 1890 and 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was enacted. The Latino homeownership rate is 25 points lower than the white homeownership rate. This unfortunate reality, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate harm on American communities least able to shoulder the burden, has resulted in an ever-widening homeownership gap that has left communities of color behind with little capital to invest in wealth-building opportunities. It is with this and our nation’s long and unfortunate history of excluding communities of color from sustainable homeownership opportunities in mind that civil rights and housing equity organizations work tirelessly to ensure that our nation’s housing policy reflects the needs of all communities equitably. 

“The inclusion of targeted, well-funded down payment assistance legislation in the upcoming reconciliation package can help begin to reverse the myriad barriers that have kept families of color from building generational wealth while advancing a more equitable economy that benefits all Americans. 

“There is no racial equality without economic equity. Congress must vote to increase support for down payment assistance programs and begin undoing years of systemic and structural racism and discrimination.”

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Press Contact: matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org

The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.

The National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD) is a coalition of nearly 100 local organizations spanning 21 states and the Pacific Islands that advocate for and organize low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander communities and neighborhoods.  We strengthen and mobilize our members to build power nationally and further our vision of economic and social justice for all.

The National Urban League is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. The National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its 90 local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research and advocacy, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people annually nationwide. Visit www.nul.org and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @NatUrbanLeague.

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing and business. NCRC was formed in 1990 by national, regional and local organizations to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities. NCRC has grown into an association of more than 600 community-based organizations in 42 states that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation and vibrant communities for America’s working families. More: www.ncrc.org

The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) is a nonprofit, non-partisan research and policy organization dedicated to protecting homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices. More: www.responisblelending.org.

UnidosUS is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Since our founding in 1968, we have contributed to a stronger America by elevating the voice of Latinos, and defending and advancing our community’s concerns.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society — an America as good as its ideals.