As Prepared For Delivery:
Good morning, and welcome. I’m Susan Rice, President Biden’s Domestic Policy Advisor. I want to thank Vice President Harris and Secretary Fudge for their leadership, and the Austin, Johnson, and Priestly families who will share their stories today.
We focus on “equity” a lot in this Administration. Usually, we’re referring to making the system fairer for people left behind, which was the vision behind President Biden’s Day One executive order advancing equity and racial justice. But, of course, “equity” has another meaning. It can refer to financial equity. To home equity. So, today, we’re here to increase “equity” in all senses of the word.
President Biden announced this task force in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he marked the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Secretary Fudge and I joined him. We met with survivors of the massacre and saw up close how inequitable housing practices have kept Black families from building wealth. It was an emotional visit.
Of course, these troubling inequities are not just relics of the past. More than 50 years after the Fair Housing Act, the gap between Black and white homeownership rates is wider than ever. As we’ll be reminded today, those disparities can be compounded by something as mundane yet insidious as the value an appraiser assigns to a home.
The reverse is true as well. Studies show that eliminating the disparities in wealth generated by homeownership could significantly shrink the racial wealth gap. It was against this backdrop that President Biden, in Tulsa, called for “an aggressive effort to combat racial discrimination in housing.”
The Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity Action Plan we’re announcing today is the product of that aggressive effort. For six months, thirteen federal agencies and White House offices—co-convened by Secretary Fudge and me—have engaged in an all-out sprint. The Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Department of Agriculture. The Department of Veterans Affairs. The Federal Reserve. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Many others. Together, we’ve developed a robust set of concrete actions and commitments to transform the home appraisal process—so that no homeowner should have to swap out family photos or artwork just to receive a fair value on her home.
I’m deeply grateful to the leaders and staff of the PAVE Task Force for their commitment, their creativity, and their effort. This is a plan to be proud of. Our work is not over, but I know we can and will deliver greater equity to our housing market and our nation. Thank you.