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  • Overview
  • Increasing Housing Supply
  • Dedicated Funding Sources
  • Land Use Regulation and Approval Reforms
  • Inclusionary Zoning
  • Regional Housing Target Enforcement
  • Ending and Preventing Homelessness
  • Systems-Level Racial Equity Analysis
  • Emergency Response Resources
  • Housing First
  • Master Leasing
  • Household and Community Protections
  • “Just Cause” Eviction Laws
  • Anti-Gouging Rent Regulations
  • Strategic Code Enforcement
  • Community Benefit Agreements
  • Community Power-Building
  • Community Ownership
  • Alliance and Coalition Building
  • Community Organizing
  • Tenant Organizing
  • Opportunity and Wealth
  • Mobility Assistance Programs
  • Rent Reporting
  • Reparations
  • Fair and Equitable Appraisals
  • Acknowledgments
  • Reparations


    Reparations are rooted in an explicit acknowledgement of historical wrongs against a group—and their ongoing implications in the present—as well as a commitment to reconciliation through financial or other means. There are increasing calls for national reparations policy, such as the proposed federal legislation to create the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans (H.R. 40).  Given the history of slavery and the racist housing and land-use policies and practices that have contributed to the social and economic exclusion of Black households, local leaders are developing programs to redress these harms. As cities reckon with their segregationist histories and how to remedy decades of generational trauma, barriers to wealth-building, and acts of wealth-stripping in Black communities, reparations can take diverse forms as local policy projects.

    As reparations continue to inch onto state and federal agendas, several local initiatives show what is possible on a municipal scale. Each case foregrounds a commitment to the housing justice principle of racial equity and anti-racism, and each is focused on ways to begin rectifying the racial wealth gap. While still works in progress, these examples demonstrate how local programs and policies can aspire to advance housing justice through redress and restoration. Communities looking to push this work forward need to center the link between structural racism and its enduring impact in present-day wealth inequality—tying historical knowledge to forward-looking change.

    Examples of This Strategy in Action

    • Evanston, Illinois, is a midsized suburb located just north of Chicago, with racial disparities in household wealth and income that mirror national trends. A local history of racist housing policies, including mortgage denials and racial steering of Black households, helped cement those patterns. In a 2021 resolution to “end structural racism and achieve racial equity,” the city adopted the Restorative Housing Program, which is one of a larger series of reparations initiatives to be funded using $10 million in cannabis tax revenue. The program plans to provide housing assistance to people with direct or ancestral ties to discriminatory policies in place between 1919 and 1969.

      The Restorative Housing Program has been slow to launch. Just 16 households received payments of $25,000 each in January 2022 after more than 600 applied. Originally, these funds could only be put toward buying or repairing a home, excluding many of the 65 percent of Black Evanston residents who rent. Recently,  the program changed to allow for direct cash payments as an alternative to housing-focused grants. Although it has some limitations, the program is one of the most widely established models for local reparations in the country. The Evanston Community Foundation also stepped in to bolster city dollars and support the long-term life of the project by establishing a separate private fund. In a legal landscape where race-based targeting of housing and education supports is being threatened by constitutional precedent, community-based groups can operate as more flexible partners to sustain reparations alongside state and local governments.

    • Asheville, North Carolina, is in the process of launching reparations for its Black residents, taking aim at previous chapters of city-led urban renewal that left many Black neighborhoods fragmented and households displaced. City officials and the Buncombe County Community Reparations Commission are in the planning stages for Asheville’s reparations project. In the meantime, advocacy groups like Tzedek have emerged to push momentum forward and fuel education and awareness of reparations. This effort is intended to run parallel to the public initiative, centering the need for coalition-building and ongoing engagement to promote long-term community buy-in and impact.



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