HUD Commemorates Black History Month

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development commemorated Black History Month by highlighting its impact on the Black community.

“This Black History Month, we celebrate all that Black Americans have contributed to our great nation,” Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement.

“As the 18th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and a student of history, today I honor the legacy of one of my personal heroes, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune. Dr. Bethune was a scholar, activist, and champion of racial and gender advancement. Despite being born Black and a woman in America at a time when both groups were denied equal protection under the law, she worked tirelessly to change our country for the better. Like Dr. Bethune, I have faith in our nation and its possibilities. We have the power to build a world that ensures the generations that follow us can look back on this period with pride,” Fudge said.

The department says it has successfully supported 250,000 Black homebuyers with FHA loans since the start of 2021. As a percentage of its business, the FHA serves Black borrowers at three times the rate of the overall market.

Particular successes include changing how HUD calculates student debt and on-time rent payments to make it easier to secure a loan.

HUD also highlighted its $10 million award to Historically Black Colleges and Universities for research into addressing the housing challenges that Black and underserved communities face.

“We must continue this work to move our nation forward if we are to ensure Black and Brown children, of the future, can live in a country that lives up to the ideals of liberty and justice for all,” Fudge said.

Black Americans face significant challenges to homeownership in the U.S. 

Several banks every year are accused of “modern redlining,” the illegal practice of discriminating against borrowers based on anything but their creditworthiness. 

The country’s biggest credit union, Navy Federal, made headlines recently for denying more than half of its Black conventional mortgage applicants in 2022, though it approved more than 75% of its White applicants.

Black homeowners are also discriminated against when trying to sell. A 2021 study by Freddie Mac found that Black and Latino homeowners get low appraisals at twice the rate of white homeowners.

The fight for lending equality is making strides. Zillow reported that the racial mortgage affordability gap has decreased by more than a third since 2012.

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