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California Realtors Group Apologizes for Its History of Supporting Racist Housing Practices

California housing crisis is affecting residents of all races, African-Americans and Latinos have been hit the hardest by the lack of affordable housing.

There has been a major housing shortfall of about 2 million units. The shortage has been decades in the making, The Real Deal reported.

Photo by Michael Tuszynski: https://www.pexels.com/photo/top-view-photography-of-city-2157401/

Black Californians and Homeownership

Prior to the covid-19 pandemic, there was a large racial homeownership gap in the state but it was closing. Between 2014 and 2019 Black households experienced large gains in homeownership with a 2.3 percentage points bump. But in 2019, the Black homeownership rate all but stalled and was at 36.8%, or 26.4 points below the rate for white households. Racism was one of the factors that played into the lack of Black homeownership growth.

Redlining and an Apology

The California Association of Realtors is now apologizing for its historic role in pushing policies that drove racial segregation in the state, The Associated Press reported.

During a recent press conference the California realtor group announced will back a bill that would overturn a law that makes it harder for the state to build affordable housing.

“This has been a very long time coming,” Derrick Luckett, chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, a real estate agent trade association founded in the 1940s to represent African-Americans at a time when Blacks were not admitted into the National Association of Realtors.

The reason for the apology? California Association of Realtors was one of several real estate organizations that supported redlining in the decades before passage of the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968. Redlining, a practice of denying investment in minority residential districts, creates unfair obstacles to housing for Blacks.

California Association of Realtors includes more than 100 local member Associations and more than 205,000 realtors, realtor-associates and affiliate members.

According to Eli Knaap, associate director of San Diego State University’s Center for Open Geographical Science, told the AP the group’s apology comes when there’s “overwhelming evidence that the legacy of discriminatory housing policies hinders families’ ability to build wealth.”

“The greatest source of wealth for most families is in their home,” said Knapp, who has studied the lasting impacts of discriminatory practices like redlining.

Knaap noted that some necessary changes have been made, such as some local governments implementing inclusionary zoning where a portion of units in a residential development must be affordable for low-income residents.

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