By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced awards totaling $5.5 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to conduct housing and community development research.
The announcement came during a Black Media Roundtable hosted by HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.
Adjoa Asamoah, HUD’s senior advisor for Racial Equity; Melody Taylor, regional director for the Mid-Atlantic Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity; Alanna McCargo, president of Ginnie Mae; and Erica Loewe, the director of African American Media at The White House, also participated in the roundtable.
“HBCUs create economic opportunity both for their students and throughout the communities they serve,” Fudge stated.
“At HUD, we are proud to partner with HBCUs to expand the voices in the housing research space to support strong communities, build affordable housing, create job opportunities, revitalize neighborhoods, and promote homeownership.”
HUD will provide the funding to Texas Southern University ($3 million) and North Carolina AT&T University ($2.5 million) to establish or bolster their existing Centers of Excellence that conduct housing and community development research.
At Texas Southern, the school’s research will focus on individual and community wealth building, and housing security and stability. It also will focus on planning and infrastructure inequity that affects underserved communities.
At North Carolina AT&T, the funds will allow the university to establish a center with research that would focus on the production of affordable housing, homeownership, renewable energy, sustainable communities, and post-disaster recovery.
“This funding will bolster efforts HBCUs are making to expand opportunities for underserved communities and strengthen community development,” Fudge stated.
Under Fudge, HUD has worked to advance racial equity and ensure steps to make homeownership more accessible for Black Americans.
In a Fact Sheet, HUD officials noted that through the Federal Housing Administration, the agency has implemented major reductions to the annual premiums it charges homebuyers for mortgage insurance.
Officials said the action will help Black low-and-moderate income residents save an estimated $600 million in the next year, and billions over the next decade.
Additionally, HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a policy statement in 2021 about making way for lenders to resolve inequities in homeownership that individuals of color face.
Previously, the agency published a notice of proposed rulemaking to restore the department’s Discriminatory Effects Standards and allow policies that unjustifiably exclude people from housing opportunities to be challenged.
The powerful tool for HUD and private plaintiffs to address polices that cause systemic inequality in housing, includes policies on criminal records, zoning requirements, lending and property insurance policies that impact equal access to housing opportunities for Black people, HUD officials stated.