This is an excerpt from a guest commentary published in California Health Report on May 13, 2022, by SFF CEO Fred Blackwell and Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative (BARHII) Executive Director Melissa Jones.
With California’s $45.7 billion budget surplus, we have a historic and unprecedented opportunity to help right past wrongs and invest in Black communities and housing. We are calling on the region’s leaders and residents to support a historic $500 million Bay Area Regional Black Housing Fund. We also call on the legislature to include it in this year’s state budget.
We envision a Bay Area with thriving, healthy and resilient Black communities, where all Black residents have a home. We want a region that rebuilds Black commercial districts destroyed by highway development, regains the Black homeownership losses from the racially targeted lending schemes that drove the Great Recession, and creates the affordable housing our region has failed to deliver over the last two decades. We envision neighborhoods that retain long-standing networks, with new homes and businesses that serve Black families of all ages, anchored by robust institutions.