NEW ORLEANS — Taking aim at the racial wealth gap in the U.S., Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris proposed a $100 billion program to help black families and individuals buy homes.
Speaking at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday, Harris said the program would help with down payments and other costs associated with purchasing homes.
The program, she estimated, would help 4 million families who live or rent in historically red-lined areas, or those where loans are often refused because borrowers are seen as poor financial risks.
“We must right the wrong, and after generations of discrimination give black families a real shot at home ownership — historically one of the most powerful drivers of wealth,” Harris said.
The program, which would be administrated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would give grants of up to $25,000 to families with incomes of up to $100,000, or as much as $125,000 in high-income communities. Harris said the plan would, over time, reduce the wealth gap between black and white families by one-third.
Her campaign cited research from Demos, a progressive public policy group, showing that less than 50% of black households own their home while 75% of white ones do.
Rising in the polls after her breakout debate performance in late June, Harris is seeking to dislodge Democratic front-runner Joe Biden and is especially trying to make inroads with black voters, a crucial constituency for Democrats and a voting bloc where Biden has deep support.
Harris’ plan comes after Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, another Democratic candidate, announced a plan in March to provide grants to first-time homebuyers in formerly red-lined and low-income neighborhoods.
Harris has previously laid out proposals to offer relief for renters and working families.