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By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

The Community Housing Working Group hosted a briefing on April 23 at Cafeteria 15L in Sacramento. The discussions focused on how California’s housing crisis affects Black and brown communities and explored ways to provide low-income families and individuals with affordable housing.

Tia Boatman Patterson, CEO and president of the California Communities Reinvestment Corporation, said “entry level housing” is no longer available as it was in the past, adding that affordable housing was an important entry point to homeownership for many families in the Black community. .

“My mother bought her first house when I was in high school. It was an 800 square foot, two bedroom, one bathroom house in 1978. That house cost $30,000,” Boatman-Patterson said.

“A woman who worked part-time at JCPenney could afford that house. We are not building these types of homes now. We are not building entry-level homeownership,” she added.

The Working Group on Communal Housing is a collection of diverse community organizations from across California working together to address housing issues in their communities. The organization believes that solving the affordable housing crisis requires creating enough smaller, cheaper multifamily housing units located near jobs, public transportation and good schools.

The briefing included a panel discussion titled “Exclusionary Zoning: A Look Back and a Path Forward.” Boatman-Patterson participated in that session along with Henry “Hank” Levy, treasurer-tax collector for Alameda County, and Noerena Limón, a consultant with Unidos US and board member of the California Housing Finance Agency.

Boatman-Patterson, former Associate Director for Housing, Finance and Commerce in the Office of Management and Budget for the Biden Administration, began her presentation by highlighting how exclusionary single-family zoning contributes to the continued segregation of communities in California.

She said single-family zoning originated in 1916 in the Bay Area city of Berkeley.

“By creating single-family zoning and having gated communities, you were able to exclude the ‘others,’” Boatman-Patterson said. “It was really a method of exclusion – what they called ‘economic segregation’ – but that was a disguise for racial segregation. Single-family zoning, along with redlining, became a systemic approach that had to be excluded based on affordability.”

Title VIII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1968 – commonly known as the Fair Housing Act of 1968 – is the U.S. federal law that protects individuals and families from discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing. It was passed to open the doors to affordable housing.

In 1968, 65.9% of white families were homeowners, a rate 25% higher than the 41.1% of black families who owned their homes. National Low Income Housing Coalition. Today, these numbers have hardly changed in the black community, although white homeownership has increased by five percentage points to 71.1%.

Boatman Patterson said the percentage hasn’t changed in Black and brown communities because funding for entry-level affordable housing is virtually non-existent. Home ownership disparities contribute to the nation’s troubling racial wealth gap, according to the October 2018 National Low-Income Housing Coalition report.

“We really need to align the financing with the actual construction of units, which we haven’t necessarily done. Because of this misalignment, I think we will continue to see problems,” Boatman-Patterson said.