Race and Housing

Our Nation has a long history and a distressing present of housing segregation and discrimination, particularly against Black and Indigenous Americans.  Discriminatory housing policies are a principal cause of racial inequities which plague our communities today. At a time when the global pandemic has laid bare these disparities and the gap between white and Black homeownership is wider than in 1934, it is critically important that we work together to dismantle structural racism, pursue antiracist policies, and ensure that everyone has equitable access to communities of opportunity. Let’s learn from the past to build a better future.

Warning: this video contains one use of profanity in the first 10 seconds

History of Housing Segregation & Discrimination

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Fair Housing Advancements

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Continuation of Discriminatory Practices

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Housing segregation and discrimination persist today and have led to incalculable inequities in health, education, policing, wealth, and access to healthy foods, parks, public transit and so much more.

As a housing provider, Habitat understands the critical role that it must play in pursuing antiracist policies that support inclusive communities and equitable access to high quality, affordable housing.  Habitat also knows that increased access to affordable homeownership will provide Black households with vital opportunities to build equity, transforming generations.

Policy Solutions

  1. Increase Opportunities for Black Homeownership
  2. Invest in Distressed, Racially Segregated Communities to Promote Inclusive Recovery
  3. Stop Perpetuating Housing Segregation by Promoting Opportunities for Black Households to Rent and Purchase in Communities of Opportunity
  4. Invest in Affordable Rental Housing
  5. Minimize the Damage and Compounding Effect of COVID19 for Black Households

*Read more about these policy solutions in Habitat for Humanity International’s Policy Brief on Housing Policy & Racial Disparities.


HFHMM’s advocacy work related to Racial Equity & Social Justice



Testimony supporting Racial Equity & Social Justice Impact Statements for Zoning Text Amendments 

COVID-19 Crisis: Bend the Curve Towards Equity and Justice 

Rent Relief & Eviction Prevention Call to Action

Voter Engagement & Registration

Testimony in support of ending the automatic Housing Moratorium 

Accessory Dwelling Unit Op-Ed 


Take Action

Support Organizations working on the front lines:

Become an Advocacy Ambassador with HFHMM


Additional Resources



  1. The Color of Law, by Richard Rothstein
  2. Evicted, by Matthew Desmond
  3. Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Understanding White Privilege: Creating Pathways to Authentic Relationships Across Race, by Frances Kendall
  5. How to Be an Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
  6. So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo​​


  1. NPR: Cost of Racism
  2. The Atlantic: The Case for Reparations
  3. Brookings, MD Delegate Jazz Lewis: States can pave the way on closing the racial wealth gap
  4. Prince George’s County: Prince George’s County Redlining Map
  5. Phys.Org: Still separate and unequal: How subsidized housing exacerbates inequality
  6. Berkley Public Health: 50 years after being outlawed, redlining still drives neighborhood health inequities


  1. NPR: Code Switch Podcast
  2. New York Times: 1619 Project Podcast


  1. Segregated by Design, narrated by Richard Rothstein
  2. The Difference between being “not racist” and antiracist: TED Talk by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
  3. How historic housing discrimination against Black Americans contributes to racial inequities today: Habitat for Humanity +You Conversation with Richard Rothstein
  4. We Need to Talk About an Injustice: TED Talk by Bryan Stevenson
  5. The Urgency of Intersectionality: TED Talk by Kimberle Crenshaw
  6. PBS: Slavery by Another Name
  7. PBS: Chasing the Dream
  8. Movies
    1. Just Mercy
    2. 13th
    3. Selma
    4. When They See Us
    5. Marshall