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Sherrod Brown Leads Senate Hearing On Racism In The Housing Market

Richard Rothstein facing the camera in a Zoom meeting.
Kristin Stratman
Richard Rothstein, a member of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, over Zoom.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 made redlining, or racial discrimination in housing, illegal. Census data shows the Black homeownership rate is still about as low today as it was back then.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown held a Senate committee hearing on discrimination in the housing market on Tuesday. Brown says housing discrimination can impact all areas of a person’s life.

“The wounds of redlining remain as fresh as ever," said Brown. "We know where you live determines so much about your life; what schools you go to, the kinds of jobs available, how far you have to travel to get to work, the air you breathe, the water you drink, even how long you live.”

Senator Sherrod Brown
Brown spoke about how housing discrimination can impact all areas of a person’s life.

Richard Rothstein is with the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund. Rothstein says low rates of home ownership among black Americans has broadened the racial wealth divide. Fewer Black people are building equity by paying mortgages.

“Black family incomes are about sixty percent of white incomes," said Rothstein, "You’d think Black wealth would also be about sixty percent of white wealth, households can save the same amounts from the same incomes. But in reality black wealth is only about five percent of white wealth.”

Rothstein believes this disparity can be lessened if governments at all levels implement policies that invest in minority homeowners, and that protect them from predatory loans and discrimination in housing.