Kamala Harris Promises 4 Million Black Families $25,000 Down Payments For Homes

At this weekend’s Essence Festival, Kamala Harris was clearly the winner in stealing attendees’ hearts and minds from her competitors.

During a weekend of campaign one upsmanship, 2020 presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris (see footnote) were at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday, which was headlined by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

The the annual culture and music festival sponsored by Essence magazine, according to the New York Times, “caters to black women.”

Featuring celebrities and recording artists and held at the New Orleans Superdome, Nola. com reported that last year’s Essence Festival sold out all of its 46,000 tickets for each of its three nights.

This year both Warren and Harris were there to present plans designed to appeal to minority voters.

Warren, for example, presented her plan that was released on Friday and described by the New York Times as calling for an executive order that would “require the recipients of those contracts to diversify their workforces, and pay women and people of color equally.”

But it was Kamala Harris who stole the show (and the headlines) from her competitors.

To rousing applause, Harris presented a plan to spend $100 billion to give up to $25,000 to black families to use as down payments for homes.

“A sign of economic justice in our country is the distribution of wealth,” Harris’ website states, “which is the measure of a person’s or family’s financial net worth.”

According to Harris’ website:

We’ll invest $100 billion to provide down-payment and closing-cost assistance to four million homebuyers who rent or live in historically red-lined communities.

  • Our plan will create a 100-billion-dollar U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-administered grant to provide up to $25,000 in down payment assistance and closing costs. According to research from the Urban Institute, in early 2018, first-time homebuyers bought houses worth $245,320 with an average down payment of $22,561, and an interest rate of 4.43%.
  • This $100 billion investment will provide at least 4 million families/individuals living in federally-supported or renting housing in these historically red-lined communities with down payment and closing cost assistance.
  • In order to qualify for the program:
  • The grantee must be purchasing a principal residence.
  • The grantee must have lived for at least the preceding 10 years in a historically red-lined community that remains low-to-moderate income.
  • Grantee families cannot have an annual income of over $100,000 or $125,000 in high-cost areas.
  • Grantee individuals cannot make over $50,000 or $75,000 in high-cost areas.
  • The max grant is capped at either $25,000 or 20% of the loan value plus closing costs.
  • The maximum home price to qualify for the grant is $300,000 for consideration of high-cost areas.
  • Consistent with our more inclusive credit-calculation proposals below, an individual or family would need to demonstrate an ability to pay the mortgage with the lender.

More of Harris’ plan can be read here.

Reactions to Harris’ plan on social media are mixed, with both positive and negative views expressed:

[Footnote: Fellow Democratic candidates Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke were also at the event, according to the New York Times.]

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