Last week, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser launched the Black Homeownership Strike Force. The first woman to serve three terms as mayor of D.C. joined forces with John Falcicchio, deputy mayor of Planning and Economic Development, to increase homeownership for the city’s prospering Black residents.
“The Black Homeownership Strike Force will address decades of racially discriminatory policies and practices that have hampered access to one of the most significant ways to build wealth for Black residents, which is homeownership,” Mayor Bowser said. “In partnership with the Strike Force, I intend to chart a path to rectify these problems with the recommendations and goals that emerge from its members and the public and to set a 2030 goal for Black homeownership.”
According to the mayor’s website, the Strike Force consists of government and public representatives in various industries such as real estate, financial planning and lending, as well as local and community advocates that address eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. Those members also will offer recommendations on how to increase homeownership using the $10 million Bowser specifically allocated as part of her fiscal 2023 budget plan.
D.C. residents have been overly critical of Bowser’s leadership and her administration. A poll by The Washington Post revealed that more than 6 out of 10 residents disapproved of her stance on homelessness and reducing crime. Some had mixed feelings about her creating and providing Washingtonians with affordable housing and ensuring low-income residents can afford and remain in their homes.
Bowser opened up about her first experience as a homeowner during her delivery speech on June 6. She said she purchased her first house for $125,000 nearly two years ago through a nonprofit home buyers program. Now that the house is worth $600,000, she’s planning to make a big investment toward her daughter’s future. More importantly, she plans to help increase the number of Black homeowners in the District area.
“We have to address longstanding discriminatory practices that kept Black people in our city, the nation’s capital. From having access to every neighborhood and every tool that would have allowed them to buy homes generations ago and pass that wealth on to their own children,” said Bowser.
She continued “We know that Black Washingtonians are starting a few steps behind their neighbors in having the generational wealth that they had passed on to them to invest in homes.”
The $10 million will go toward the Black homeownership fund later this year in October to help increase homeownership for Black residents.
“We hope the strike force can do its work this summer so that we can have actionable recommendations, so we can start the work of the Black Homeowners Fund by the time these budget dollars are available,” said Bowser, 49.
“Our focus to help drive costs down — whether it’s rents or home prices — is to make sure that we have enough capacity, enough new housing, enough preserved housing,” she explained. “So when people are looking for housing, everybody is not trying to get one house, which we know will drive the prices up.”