Frequently Asked Questions
“An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future. More important than any single check cut to any African American, the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of the childhood myth of its innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.”
– Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, June 2014
“The price of privilege is the moral duty to act when one sees another person treated unfairly.”
– Isabel Wilkerson, Caste, 2020
What is the Black Homeownership Reparations Fund?
The Black Homeownership Reparations Fund (BHRF) is a project launched by Arlington Community Church (UCC), to help repair a small portion of the financial damage of racism and white supremacist policies—in particular, the longstanding barriers to Black homeownership that have existed in our East Bay communities. Partner congregations include First Congregational Church, Berkeley; First Congregational Church, Alameda; Good Table UCC, El Cerrito; and DCC.
Why choose Black homeownership as a reparations project?
For most Americans, a home is their major source of wealth. A home appreciates over time and can be passed down to the next generation. But because of segregation, redlining, adverse (or nonexistent) mortgage terms, and loan application rejection, the Black community has been shut out from this major wealth-building tool.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of Black homeownership is 44 percent, the lowest of all groups. In contrast, 74 percent of white families in the U.S. own a home.
Addressing Black homeownership is a way to make long-lasting, systemic change in how Black communities can build wealth and pass it along to their heirs.
How does the fund assist potential Black homeowners?
A major barrier to homeownership, especially in the high-priced Bay Area, is lack of a down payment. This is especially true for Black homebuyers, who may have good incomes but no access to the additional capital they need for a down payment. The BHRF would:
- Create a zero-percent-interest loan fund, to be paid back only when the
home is refinanced or sold;
- Work through local organizations to identify potential Black homebuyers
who are on the journey to home ownership but who lack a down payment.
Because the BHRF is a loan fund, money from home refinance or sale flows back into the fund, ready to assist other homebuyers. In addition, there may be other avenues by which we can support Black homeownership through our fund.
How will the BHRF operate?
The BHRF will be housed at the Richmond Community Foundation through a donor-advised fund. This foundation has an outstanding track record for funding housing projects in the East Bay. For example, the foundation recently turned 20 abandoned, single-family homes into affordable housing, with more projects planned (Richmond has several hundred such homes).
How can special Lenten offerings to the fund be made?
To make your offering online, go to the DCC Donations page, select Outreach Donations / Other, and type in “Lenten Offering” or “Reparations Fund”. Or you may write “Lenten Offering” or “Reparations Fund” on your check made out to DCC and mail it to Danville Congregational Church, 989 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Danville, CA 94526.
If you have questions or suggestions, please email to Doug Leich, Danville Congregational Church Outreach Co-Commissioner.