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In Cleveland, HUD Sec. Marcia Fudge Launches Black Homeownership Initiative

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge says her agency is working to make it easier for people with student loan debt to qualify for federally guaranteed mortgages. [screenshot / WOIO 19 News]
Marcia Fudge stands in front of the 3by30 graphic at Cleveland State University

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge returned to her hometown Friday to help launch a new program to increase Black homeownership.

The 3by30 initiative is a seven-point plan from the Black Homeownership Collaborative to achieve a net of 3 million new African American homeowners nationwide by 2030.

The new initiative calls for a down payment-assistance program, homeownership counseling, incentives for affordable housing production, programs to address credit barriers, enforcement of fair housing and consumer protection laws, and more.

“In my hometown, in areas such as Hough and Mt. Pleasant and Glenville, for decades these neighborhoods and others like them suffered a severe shortage of both public and private investment,” Fudge said at a Friday press conference on the Cleveland State University campus. “It is long past time that our government finally breaks down the barriers which still limit the futures of far too many Black people.”

At the end of 2019, homeownership rate among Blacks was as low as it was in 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. 

“If we do nothing,” National Housing Conference President David Dworkin said Friday, “the Urban Institute projects it will go even lower and remain there for the next 20 years.”

The homeownership gap between Black and white Americans was exacerbated by the 2008 housing crisis, Dworkin said. At the time, African Americans held mortgages they could reasonably afford but “were serially refinanced into toxic loans never designed to be repaid. Having had the equity stripped from their homes they were quickly swept away with the collapse of the housing economy, a collapse that spared few but hit Black Americans a lot harder and for much longer than any other racial or ethnic group,” he said.

Fudget said the 3by30 initiative is meant to not only increase Black homeownership but sustain it and help close the wealth gap.

“It is due to the fact that in one place after another, predominantly Black neighborhoods were systemically locked out of opportunity,” she said. “Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions denied credit to African Americans through redlining. Those days are done. Those days are done in this HUD.”

Annie Wu is the deputy editor of digital content for Ideastream Public Media.