Symposium: Achieving Racial Equity in Housing Outcomes in D.C.

The District of Columbia is becoming increasingly more segregated by race and income. As outlined in the Urban Institute report The Color of Wealth in the Nation’s Capital, this segregation is built on racist public and private practices, and has amplified disparities and inequities in health, education, work opportunities, with effects that continue today.

Built on this foundation, the city’s current lack of affordable housing has contributed to the displacement of longtime low-income residents of color. In a recent study, D.C. Policy Center Executive Director Yesim Sayin Taylor wrote:

“Housing policies are central to the inclusiveness of a city. Housing defines, in large part, how residents share the wealth created by a city and how they access its assets and amenities. Where we live deeply affects our quality of life and the opportunities available to us and our children, especially jobs and better schools. How we invest in a neighborhood determines the desirability of the housing stock in that neighborhood and how we regulate our housing markets can shape who stays in the city and who leaves. Public policies that control the housing supply and public investments in amenities and services such as schools, transportation, and infrastructure can play roles equally strong as private wealth in defining the demographic make-up of a city. Population growth and demographic changes continually play out through the housing market, and when housing is constrained, these forces further amplify gentrification, economic segregation, and displacement.”

In partnership with the Consumer Health Foundation and the Meyer Foundation, the D.C. Policy Center asked a cross-section of community organizations, traditional and low-income housing developers, researchers, and other stakeholders to answer the question: What is the most important public policy that could increase affordable housing, reduce housing inequities, and create a more inclusive D.C.? What is the biggest obstacle to implementing your desired policy, and how can it be overcome?