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Closing the Gap: Barriers and Solutions for Equitable Homeownership

A landscape analysis of the racial homeownership gap indicates that households of color have lower homeownership rates than white households. And although the reasons behind these racial disparities vary, they are often attributable to differences in households’ access to financial resources and persistent racial discrimination.

Join the Urban Institute and Living Cities for a convening exploring how homeownership can be a path toward a more equitable future. This event will connect local and federal government leaders to discuss systemic inequity in homeownership for people of color and innovative solutions at all levels to close these persistent homeownership gaps. We will feature local homeownership initiatives being implemented by cities in the Closing the Gaps’ Year of Reckoning Cohort and racial equity plans being implemented by federal agencies. This event will also highlight opportunities where the federal government can work even more closely with stakeholders seeking to change their local communities. We expect this event will build on the work already being done to harness all the resources available to close the racial homeownership gap and boost wealth for people and communities of color.

Event Agenda

Welcome and Keynote: 
  • Sarah Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute
  • Adrianne Todman, Deputy Secretary, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Takeaways from Homeownership Landscape Scan: 

  • Joe Scantlebury, President and CEO, Living Cities
  • Michael Neal, Principal Research Associate, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute

Panel Discussion: Solutions on a Local Level

  • Amanda Jasso, Interim Equity Officer, City of Austin, TX
  • Michelle Melendez, Director, Office of Equity and Inclusion, City of Albuquerque, NM
  • Brian Smith, Founder and CEO, Fortis Capital
  • LaKeeshia Fox, Associate Director of Homeownership, Living Cities (moderator) 

Panel Discussion: Addressing Federal Barriers to Homeownership for BIPOC Communities 

  • Katrina Jones, Vice President, Racial Equity Strategy and Impact, Fannie Mae
  • Demetria McCain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Pamela Perry, Vice President, Single-Family Equitable Housing, Freddie Mac
  • Rekha Balu, Director of Federal Equity Initiatives, Urban Institute (moderator)


This event is available for in-person or virtual participation. Please be sure to register correctly. In-person check-in will begin at 1:30 p.m. A networking reception will follow the event. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, including one booster shot, is required to attend this event in-person. Please be prepared to show proof of your vaccinations upon arrival. Masking may be required. 

Living Cities Logo

Support for this event is provided by Living Cities. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event. 


Next 10

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center (HFPC) was founded a decade ago with a mission to educate policymakers, system actors, and the public about how the housing finance system could better serve families, households, and communities, particularly those historically disadvantaged by that very system. Today’s challenges demand even more from HFPC’s unique capacities, and HFPC is pleased to announce the launch of NEXT10: The Future of Home, a series of high-priority initiatives and events aimed at solving today’s critical issues.

HFPC’s NEXT10 series will bring together leaders and collaborators from a wide array of sectors to explore promising ideas and bold solutions for the US housing finance system, to build important partnerships, and to inspire transformative action. These events will help inform the framework for the NEXT10 research agenda, comprising new research on today’s urgent challenges, alongside the foundational work needed to develop an evidence base for future work on emerging issues that have the potential to dominate the US housing finance system in the years to come. 

Learn more at

HFPC 10th Year


Date & Time Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Urban Institute 500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington , DC , 20024-2131
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Check-in begins at 1:30 PM


Urban Institute Speakers
  • President
  • Senior Fellow