For every 100 families that need a home, only 36 affordable housing units are available in the U.S. As one can imagine, we are experiencing an unprecedented affordable housing challenge. In fact, the National Low Income Housing Coalition states there are 11 million extremely low-income renter households in the U.S.

Additionally, a deeper data dive reveals how racial and wealth disparities continue to be an impediment to affordable housing: according to the 2020 U.S. Census, African-American homeownership stood at 44.1%, whereas the rate of white homeownership was 74.5%. Additionally, homes in Black neighborhoods are priced approximately 23% less than those in white neighborhoods. This disparity shows a difference of nearly $50,000 per home, which totals to about $156 billion in lost assets.

What is even more unsettling — racial inequities exacerbated by disparate property appraisal values between Black and white people. According to the Brookings Institute, there are an estimated four million incidents of housing discrimination each year; yet there are less than 30,000 reported actual incidents. Why? It’s quite simple: Many people of color are too afraid or unsure of how to file a complaint, and many others have been silenced by those with power. This is unacceptable and we must take action to abolish this immoral and unprincipled approach.

Solving our nation’s housing challenges will require leaders at all levels to work in a collaborative manner. Now is the time to speak up and become affordable housing allies to the families, children, seniors, veterans and the disabled in their respective communities.

There are a number of practical steps local and national housing authorities can take to drive needed change in communities across the country, including: