Washington Moves Toward Equity with New Law

The Covenant Homeownership Account (CHA) acknowledges the impact of Washington’s housing discrimination practices and racially restrictive real estate covenants.

Governor Jay Inslee signed into law this month legislation that aims to repair some of the economic damage caused by generations of racially discriminatory housing policies.

HomeSight Executive Director Darryl Smith participated in the bill’s signing ceremony at the Northwest African American Museum, joining Governor Inslee and representatives from several of HomeSight’s partner organizations, including the Black Home Initiative Network and the Housing Development Consortium.

Smith testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee in favor of the legislation. “This legislation is the first of its kind nationwide and is an important step toward intentionally creating equity in housing across the state,” said Smith. “Anti-racism begins with acknowledging the harm caused by racist covenant laws and practices and working to reverse the impact of this history.”

HB1474 creates an assessment fee to fund the Covenant Homeownership Program (CHP). This creates the CHA, which the Washington State Housing Finance Commission will use to create a Special Purpose Credit Program for down payment and closing cost assistance for groups identified in a CHP study shown to have experienced economic damage from discriminatory housing practices. 

Left to right: Governor Jay Inslee, Housing Development Consortium Executive Director Patience Malaba, HomeSight Executive Director Darryl Smith

“The foundation for generational wealth building is rooted in home ownership,” said Smith. “In being denied that opportunity, generations of people of color have been largely shut out from the benefits afforded by owning a home such as starting a business, sending a kid to college, and even surviving a financial emergency due to a health challenge.”

Moussa Samb, Director of Lending Partnerships at HomeSight, said the legislation closes the chapter on an overt, statewide expression of institutional racism that denied equal opportunity to communities of color.

HomeSight Director of Lending Partnerships Moussa Samb

“For Washington neighborhoods to reach their potential, every community member must be afforded equal opportunity,” said Samb. “Homeownership is key to building vibrant, healthy neighborhoods. Bills such as these, which are good efforts to correct Washington’s racial injustices, allow all people to claim an economic stake in their own communities. This in turn fosters the creation of healthy, vibrant cities and towns.”

HomeSight in the Community

This month, when more than 1,400 housing and community-development professionals from around the country convened in San Francisco for the NeighborWorks Training Institute, HomeSight staff took the stage. Darryl Smith served on a panel that highlighted HomeSight’s efforts and programs to build generational wealth for Black families.

Smith discussed the Black wealth gap and its history, and innovative programs such as U-lex, HomeSight’s housing co-operative that aims to stop displacement for people and families of color in Southeast Seattle. 

Congratulations to HomeSight Board President Terry Miller for winning the Seattle King County Realtors’ Good Neighbor Award, which came with a $500 check for HomeSight.

Thank you, Terry!

Is Co-Op Living Right for You?

Find out at our free U-lex* information session!

(*pronounced OH-lew)

Video of Ulex

Looking for more HomeSight information?

To learn more about:

Partnerships: Moussa Samb | moussa@homesightwa.org

Lending Operations: Scott Kim | scott@homesightwa.org

Finance: Tammie Anders | tammie@homesightwa.org

Community Development: Sarah Valenta | sarah@homesightwa.org

Real Estate Development: Uche Okezie | uche@homesightwa.org

Resource Development: Sekai Senwosret | sekai@homesightwa.org

Employment Opportunities: Joe Thomas | joe@homesightwa.org

Executive Director: Darryl Smith |Executive Assistant: patty@homesightwa.org


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