ing costs have made purchasing a home challenging for many people in the region. This is compounded for Black households that faced historical structural racism and persistent institutional racism and exclusion, making the goal of homeownership even less attainable.
The homeownership rate among Black households in Tacoma is 35%, compared to 64% among white households.
The County’s recently adopted Maureen Howard Affordable Housing Act identifies the racial and rural wealth gap as critical to addressing affordable housing. On Monday, June 26, the Pierce County Council joined a growing list of partners for the Black Home Initiative (BHI). This network primarily aims to increase black homeownership by reducing inequity and increasing intergenerational household wealth.
“This isn’t performative, and it isn’t something to say, ‘hey, we’re trying something new,’ said Council Chair Ryan Mello (District 4). “The Maureen Howard Affordable Housing Act will make a real impact investing in communities that have historically been de-invested. The Black Home Initiative can help us make the most impact with our collective resources.”
The BHI aims to create opportunities to own a home – along with all the potential benefits that come with that asset – with a goal of 1,500 new low and moderate-income black homeowners within five years. In addition, BHI will concurrently focus on clearly defining and transforming the systems that have impeded access to homeownership for Black households in the greater Puget Sound region for generations.
“As Chair of the Council’s Health & Human Services Committee, I have seen how truly complex solving our affordable housing crisis is and how tethered it is to other issues our region faces,” said Councilmember Jani Hitchen (District 6). “What excites me about BHI is it’s creating a network to increase affordable housing supply while addressing the systemic change required to right the wrongs of the past and present to ensure equitable access to opportunity.”
While partnering with BHI has no financial impact on the County, partnering with the network will help inform areas to invest revenues from the Maureen Howard Affordable Housing Act and other County resources in meaningful ways and increase awareness about the systemic barriers to home buying for Black households and ways the County may partner in addressing those systemic barriers as well.