A nascent approach that is usually part of a broader racial equity and economic justice agenda, housing reparations attempts to redress historical injustices from historic racist housing and lending policies and resultant wealth inequality tangibly and symbolically.

Homeownership reparations programs have dual purposes – wealth building and atonement. Affordable homeownership programs through down payment grants, shared equity homeownership models, and access to low-cost financing, among other tools, offer the potential to address the homeownership gap and build generational wealth for households of color who were previously excluded from economic opportunities. Incorporating reparations as part of the program is intended to partially compensate for discriminatory housing policies and practices, including redlining, appraisal bias, segregated credit and financial systems, and residential segregation.

On May 21, 2024, AFN hosted a webinar where we learned about varied approaches for foundations who strive to balance housing justice and equitable wealth building for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and other impacted residents by listening to the voice of the community, understanding the local context, and repairing tangible, direct economic harm. We discussed that ultimately, reparations for past economic and housing harms is a multisystem, multisector endeavor. And learned ways philanthropy can play various roles to support reparations-focused housing programs directly and/or systems change efforts that reinforce the impacts of such programs by addressing the interconnected aspects of lending and real estate.


Joseph A. Antolín (Moderator), Asset Funders Network
Eileen Briggs, Bush Foundation
Michael Brown, Civic Commons, an initiative of Seattle Foundation
Jennifer Tidwell, Health Forward Foundation
Speaker Bios

Resources (National)

AFN Brief- Heirs’ Property: Acting to Preserve Wealth
GroundBreak Coalition
Tribal Leaders Handbook on Homeownership | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Fed study finds Native borrowers pay more interest on home purchases than white borrowers | MPR New
Center for Indian Country Development | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Racial Wealth Gaps Research and Data, Bush Foundation
Black Home Initiative, Powered by Civic Commons
Keeping it in the Family: Legal Strategies to Address the Challenge of Heirs Property and Prevent Home Loss- NCLC Report
Can Wealth-Building Programs Both Prevent Displacement and Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap?- Urban Institute

Resources (State)

Community Reinvestment Plan Report: Washington State Department of Commerce
Washington State Covenant Homeownership Program Study
Maryland Senate Bill 308- Created an office of Just Communities in their Housing and Community Development Office
Housing preference for people displaced by the building of public transit tracks: The City of Berkeley, CA
Documentary: The Big Payback, PBS
Reparations Policy Details, City of Evanston
Milwaukee’s Collective Affordable Housing Strategic Plan
Build Baton Rouge Webpage