Bill Clinton Foundation Hosts Affordable Housing Debate

The Bill Clinton Foundation has launched a virtual conference series entitled “Building an inclusive recovery”, in which President Bill Clinton speaks with agents of change with the goal of addressing racial and economic disparities in the wake of COVID-19. The first video conference, “Small businesses, great opportunities” focused on how small businesses can be part of the solution to create more economic opportunity for minorities in America.

In the second installment of today’s series, “Affordable Housing and (Re) Construction of the American Dream”, President Clinton discusses the challenges communities of color face when it comes to affordable housing, generational wealth creation through home ownership, and solutions that could help with the lack of opportunity for minorities as far as to the house. The Clinton Foundation partnered with Caliber Home Loans Y The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth bring together leaders and politicians from the housing industry to debate this latest video conference.

President Clinton first spoke with Caliber Home Loans CEO Sanjiv Das and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. President Clinton began the discussion by addressing how racially motivated wealth disparity has been a national problem long before the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing economic recession.

“If we have any hope of closing the racial wealth gap, which even before COVID had widened to the point where the median net worth of white households was 13 times that of black households and 10 times that of Latino households , we will have to close the homeownership gap, “said President Clinton.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke about how affordable housing has been a struggle in Atlanta for decades. Mayor Bottoms said that Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first African-American mayor, wrote in his biography about the need for affordable and working-class housing in Atlanta in the 1970s when he was in office.

“It has been fascinating to me that this continues to be a challenge for us,” said Mayor Bottoms.

COVID-19 has exacerbated the affordable housing problem in Atlanta. However, the city has taken steps to help alleviate some of the stress in Atlanta homes through rental assistance programs and stopping public housing evictions. Mayor Bottoms stressed that more help will be needed to truly address the problem of affordable housing.

“What we have found in these discussions happening within the City Council and within these boardrooms really needs to be expanded to our communities,” he said. “One hope is to alleviate anxiety, but also to let people know that there are resources available that can help them overcome the pandemic.”

Sanjiv Das, CEO of Caliber Home Loans, echoed the need for more information and educational resources for minority homeowners.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in the last six months, just educating people about the opportunities available to them, the indulgence programs available to them so that we can help them stay at home,” Das said.

Das added that “foreclosure is not good for anyone” and that Caliber Home Loans has worked to “not count how many loans we save, but how many houses we save.”

In the second session of the videoconference, President Clinton spoke with former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former Mayor of San Antonio, Julián Castro, as well as with the president and CEO of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Maurice A. Jones.

“The federal government has a great opportunity to be a stronger and more robust partner with many great initiatives that are already underway,” Jones said of helping tenants. “We have the ability to reposition real estate across the country, to better serve the homeless, to better serve people who are in the 60% of their area median income or 80% “.

Regarding homeownership and narrowing the racial wealth gap, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro spoke about how homeownership remains too great a risk for many Americans.

“I still believe that home ownership is a worthy and laudable goal,” Castro said. “When I came to HUD as a secretary in the summer of 2014, when I got there during this period, we were coming out of the Great Recession. Things had stabilized, to a great extent, but there was a thoughtful hesitation to embrace homeownership due to the housing crisis we’ve been through. “

President Clinton concluded the session by calling on all agents of change in the housing industry, both industry leaders and politicians from across the political spectrum, to come together to continue finding ways to rebuild the American Dream of homeownership. .

“If we are to move forward together, we must have not only political inclusion, but economic inclusion and social inclusion,” said President Clinton. “And it can’t just be a slogan for a day or a week or an election. It has to be a way of doing business with neighbors, the community and the country in general. “

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