Dear friends and colleagues,
The staff and board of the California Housing Partnership are heartsick at the pervasive and systemic injustices that George Floyd’s murder, and those of the many other Black and Brown people before him, has laid bare in our society. We know well from the work we do in the housing sector that our laws and financial institutions have systematically denied equal opportunities to Black people through redlining, disinvestment, exclusionary zoning and blatant discrimination. The Partnership condemns not only the murder of George Floyd, but all acts, attitudes, and legal and financial systems that deny Black people civil rights and opportunities.
The core of the Partnership’s work is to increase opportunity and prosperity for all Californians by creating and preserving homes that are affordable and sustainable over the long-term for low-income households. In recent years, we have begun to focus more of our attention and work on documenting and countering the discriminatory consequences of the way affordable housing has often been sited and funded in our state and the disparate impact this has had, especially on our Black neighbors and community members.
Examples of this work include our partnership with the Urban Displacement Project showing how high housing prices have disproportionately resulted in the displacement of Black and Brown Californians, and our role in helping the state develop Opportunity Maps to incentivize the development of affordable family housing in higher resource areas. A new project we are about to embark on is partnering with Othering and Belonging to assist the City of San José to develop a long-term siting strategy to maximize opportunities for low-income people of color in higher resource areas.
As we continue working to create and preserve affordable homes with our external partners, we know that we have our own internal work to do to ensure that we are the best allies we can be to Black and Brown people. Many of us at the Partnership committed our careers to affordable housing and community development in the first place because we want to be part of efforts to combat racist structures and beliefs with concrete actions to promote and protect the racial and economic diversity that makes our communities stronger and healthier.
In January, our organization committed to spending part of this year and next working intensively with a diversity, equity and inclusion team to examine our own organizational culture with respect to racial equity and inclusion, to find ways to improve. This week we made changes to our internal policies to give employees time off to participate in protests, as well as to reflect on what is happening and create space for emotional response.
In the meantime, we re-commit our organization and ourselves to doing everything we can to be the best allies we can.
The Staff and Board of the California Housing Partnership