PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Monday, May 8, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee officially signed a bill that intends to put an end to racist housing practices in the state.
According to a civil rights and labor history project from the University of Washington, deeds that barred non-white people from owning or renting certain properties became common between the 1910s and 1960s.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racially restrictive covenants were unconstitutional in 1948. Later in 1968, Congress enacted the Fair Housing Act. Despite this, UW says over 50,000 discriminatory deeds still exist in the state of Washington.
In Washington, House Bill 1474 will establish an additional $100 fee on new home purchases, which will help fund the covenant home ownership account and program made for the same communities affected by the historic racist housing practices.
According to the document, homeownership rates for Black, Indigenous and other ethnic and marginalized communities are 19% lower than for those in non-Hispanic white households.
“The legislature recognizes that credit, including home mortgages, is harder and more expensive to obtain for black, indigenous, and people of color and other historically marginalized communities in Washington than for non-Hispanic white households,” HB 1474 continues. “The legislature finds that the imbalance in supply and demand in Washington’s housing market has only exacerbated these inequities.”
The bill’s chief sponsor is Washington State Rep. Jamila Taylor, who also serves as vice chair of the Housing, Human Services & Veterans Committee.
Rep. Taylor spoke at the bill signing held at the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle. She was joined by museum president and CEO LaNesha DeBardelaben, Housing Development Consortium of Seattle- King County’s Executive Director Patience Malaba and Gov. Inslee.
Rep. Taylor says this is the “first-in-the-nation statewide reparations bill.”