- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Biden administration said Tuesday it will “root out” discrimination in home appraisals and increase the share of federal contracts going to minority-owned businesses by 50% by 2026, or an additional $100 billion.

The announcement coincided with the 100th anniversary of the attack by a White mob on “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that killed about 300 Black residents forced thousands of others out of their homes.

President Biden will travel to Tulsa on Monday and deliver remarks at the Greenwood Cultural Center.

A White House fact sheet on efforts to narrow the racial wealth gap said federal action is needed “because disparities in wealth compound like an interest rate,” and “the disinvestment in Black families in Tulsa and across the country throughout our history is still felt sharply today.”

The president directed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge to guide an interagency effort that will use fair housing laws, regulatory action and new guidance for state and local governments to expose discrimination in home appraisals. The administration cited a Brookings Institution study that found homes in majority-Black communities are often valued at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes in similar, majority-White communities.

“The impact of these disparities in home appraisals can be sweeping, limiting homeowners’ ability to properly benefit from refinancing or re-selling their homes at higher valuations and thereby contributing to the already-sprawling racial wealth gap,” the White House said.

The administration also said agencies will be directed to use every tool available to them to decrease barriers to minority entrepreneurs and firms, or “small disadvantaged businesses,” who compete for federal contracts.

“The impact could be historic: all told, attainment of the new goal will represent the biggest increase in SDB contracting since data was first collected more than 30 years ago,” the fact sheet said.

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