Racial Equity Initiatives
Empowering Black Homeownership Grants
In 2022, the Bank launched a pilot matching grant program – Empowering Black Homeownership - to address historical and systemic barriers to homeownership disproportionately experienced by generations of Black households in purchasing homes and making mortgage payments. The program matched member financial institution donations to deliver grants to fund and expand the operational capacity of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies for pre- and post-purchase homeownership counseling to aspiring and at-risk homeowners in communities of color.
In 2023, the Bank expanded the Empowering Black Homeownership program by doubling its commitment to a $2 million allocation for matching grants up to $125,000 per participating member financial institutions to support HUD-approved HCAs to deliver homeownership counseling.
Member financial institutions wishing to participate in the 2023 Empowering Black Homeownership program can complete and submit a Certificate and Disbursement Request form.
Tribal Nations Program
In January 2024, the Bank launched a new $1 million Tribal Nations Program that provides critically necessary infrastructure funding to increase the supply of affordable housing for Native American communities.
For this initiative, the California Coalition for Rural Housing will partner with the Arizona Housing Coalition, the Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority and Pala Housing Resource Center in California, and with the Nevada Housing Coalition to deliver resources to meet the infrastructure development goals of the Tribal Nations Program. Funding will support capacity building efforts and delivery of technical assistance designed to help tribal organizations submit competitive applications for funding from the Bank's Affordable Housing Program (AHP), as well as for Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other federal, state, and local housing and community programs.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), approximately 15% of Native populations live with overcrowding, compared with the national average of 2%. Emphasizing the need for more affordable housing, HUD research estimates 68,000 additional units are needed to replace severely inadequate units and eliminate overcrowding on Native American Tribal lands.
The $1 million Tribal Nations Program builds on the Bank's ongoing support for affordable housing and economic development projects benefiting Native American communities, including, to date, over $20 million in grants from AHP projects that have created more than 1,600 affordable housing units for tribal communities and more than $1.1 million in AHEAD grants awarded to 32 economic development projects.
Racial Equity Accelerator for Homeownership
We launched our Racial Equity Accelerator collaboration with the Urban Institute as a call-to-action for the industry to rewrite the U.S. home financing process, critically evaluate the systemic barriers that continue to limit people of color from achieving homeownership, and implement tangible solutions that enable and ensure racial equity in homeownership and wealth-building.
Through this $1.5 million, two-year collaboration with the Urban Institute, FHLBank San Francisco is proud to be adding relevant data and insights to the search for scalable solutions to address the decline in Black homeownership rates, which has further widened the racial wealth gap over the past six decades and moved the U.S. further away from equitable access to homeownership in local communities.
With this evidence-based research initiative, we believe it was critically important to widen the lens, to see how systemic and structural barriers to homeownership for people of color might be addressed. To that end, the Racial Equity Accelerator for Homeownership has focused on four areas that we think are ripe for innovations that would help advance equity:
- The first paper explores how to bring more information into the underwriting process that will result in sustainable loans where the borrower has the demonstrated ability to repay. Read Reducing the Black-White Homeownership Gap through Underwriting Innovations: The Potential Impact of Alternative Data in Mortgage Underwriting
- The second paper addresses the burden of student loan debt that disproportionately affects people of color, given past barriers to wealth building. Read Student Loan Debt and Access to Homeownership for Borrowers of Color
- The third paper is about finding solutions to short-term payment issues that lead to foreclosure. Read Using Mortgage Reserves to Advance Black Homeownership
- The fourth Accelerator paper focuses on the role of Artificial Intelligence, or AI, in mortgage lending, and how we can root out inherent biases in the AI data and algorithms used in mortgage finance. Read Harnessing AI for Equity in Mortgage Finance
Closing the Racial Equity Gap: A Call to Action Report
On October 4, 2023, we released a package of recommendations for updating the housing ecosystem to close the racial homeownership and wealth gaps. "Closing the Racial Equity Gap: A Call to Action" is an historic first for a Federal Home Loan Bank. It directly calls out entrenched systemic failings and offers novel yet constructive ideas that have the potential to break down structural barriers that historically have disadvantaged people of color.
Within the report we also collected links to third-party external resources that offer or provide job training programs, financial literacy education, and housing assistance, including downpayment assistance resources that can complement the Bank’s WISH First-Time Homebuyer grants. Click External Resources on the right to access resource links.