For many Americans, homeownership is an effective tool for building household — and generational — wealth. Yet not all Americans have shared in this prosperity. Historical and systemic barriers to homeownership have long stood in the way of households of color, resulting in significant racial disparities in homeownership and neighborhood disinvestment that persist nationwide. Further, research is emerging about how the pandemic may have exacerbated this growing homeownership gap. More innovative and strategic programs are needed to narrow the racial homeownership gap.

This two-part series explored federal policies and initiatives aimed at reducing racial disparities in homeownership. The first virtual event on May 17 focused on envisioning more innovative federal policies for expanding homeownership opportunities. This series was cohosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Urban Institute, and the Penn Institute for Urban Research.

Watch a Video of the Event

Part One: Federal Programs to Advance Homeownership Opportunity to Narrow Racial Disparities on May 17 featured two virtual panels discussing current federal efforts to advance racial equity in homeownership and ways to leverage these new and emerging programs. They included: the equity plans by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the interagency Action Plan to Advance Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity, new home renovation products and underwriting innovations from government-sponsored enterprises, and other innovative strategies for reshaping housing market access.

Opening Remarks: Theresa Singleton, Senior Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Panel 1: Introduction of Federal Programs

Panelists included:

  • Melody Taylor, Executive Director of the Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity Task Force, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. View presentation.
  • Frank Vespa-Papaleo, Deputy Fair Lending Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. View presentation.
  • James Wylie, Associate Director for Fair Lending, Federal Housing Finance Agency.
  • Simone Beaty, Senior Director, Affordable Lending, Freddie Mac. View presentation.
  • Stacey Shifman, Senior Director, Single-Family Analytics and Modeling, Fannie Mae. View presentation.

Laurie Goodman, Institute Fellow, Urban Institute, will moderate.

Panel 2: Leveraging and Enhancing Federal Programs

Panelists included:

  • Lisa Rice, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Fair Housing Alliance
  • Reza Aghamirzadeh, Executive Vice President and Head of Community Development, Citizens Bank
  • Robin Wiessmann, Executive Director and CEO, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
  • Janneke Ratcliffe, Vice President, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute

Susan Wachter, Albert Sussman Professor of Real Estate, Professor of Finance, and Codirector, Penn Institute for Urban Research, moderated.