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Sen. Sherrod Brown Wants To Take On The Racial Homeownership Gap

Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
J. Scott Applewhite
Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says systemic racism in home lending will be one of the top priorities for the banking committee he now chairs.

Brown says he wants to make racial equity a priority for the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. His goal is to look at the systemic barriers that stand in the way of homeownership among people of color.

"That's one of the reasons for the wealth inequality, is home ownership is the best way to pass on intergenerational wealth," Brown says. "We have failed in this country to do that broadly and we have especially failed to do that for people of color."

The office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says that supporting rental assistance to keep tenants in their homes and reducing evictions helps eliminate racial disparities in housing and homeownership.

Emmalee Cioffi, Portman's spokesperson, points out the federal rental assistance program the senator pushed for to make $25 billion available to tenants.

"In addition, last month, Rob reintroduced the bipartisan Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, which provides a tax credit to rehabilitate blighted homes and help revitalize neighborhoods across America and Ohio. He will continue to work with his colleagues to ensure Ohioans have the resources they need to address this housing and evictions crisis," Cioffi says.

Brown says increasing homeownership means increasing the supply developed for middle-income earners and addressing the challenges that come with saving up for a down payment. Brown says the down payment is a common hurdle for many Americans who want to go from paying rent to paying a mortgage.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.