Housing advocates want equity provisions in Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill

Witnesses urged senators to bake provisions to ensure equity into President Joe Biden’s proposed infrastructure package or they would risk repeating a history of public investments that locked African Americans and minorities out of buying homes and building wealth.

Federal policies, including provisions of the New Deal and a 1950s law to expand and build highways, worsened segregation and drove divestment from Black and minority communities, witnesses said Tuesday during a Senate Banking Committee hearing on racial discrimination in housing.

Senate Banking Chairman Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, asked witnesses how to fairly implement future infrastructure packages, such as the one Biden introduced last month. Biden’s proposal includes $213 billion to build and rehabilitate affordable housing units.

Past infrastructure investments, including the creation of the Federal Housing Administration and construction of the federal highway system, created jobs and drove economic growth, but only for some communities, Brown said.


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