Bay Area experts discuss ‘state of black housing’ in virtual panel

Policies that have made it harder for black residents to own homes in Sonoma County and efforts to reverse the impact of those practices were among the topics discussed during a virtual panel Monday night.

The event was hosted by the Sonoma County Chapter of the NAACP in partnership with the Sonoma County Black Forum.

Among the panelists was Nicole Montojo, a housing research analyst at the Othering & Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.

She explained how race pacts, or restrictions in housing deeds that prevented the sale of homes to people of color, served to limit the neighborhoods in which black residents could live in the Bay Area.

“For people of color, their options were extremely limited,” Montojo said.

Real estate agents who have steered potential buyers away from predominantly white neighborhoods, as well as opposition to affordable housing developments rooted in discriminatory assumptions about who can live there, are among other factors that have made it harder for black residents to obtain housing. , said Montojo.

Monet Boyd, a staff planner with the Bay Area Regional Health Inequities Initiative, spoke about the initiative’s Black Housing Advisory Task Force.

The group is currently seeking support for a $500 million regional black housing fund that would include contributions from the state and individual Bay Area counties, Boyd said. The fund would invest in black-run housing estates to increase housing for black families, among other tasks, she said.

“This fund will change the material conditions of black people in the Bay Area,” Boyd said.

Evan White, executive director of the California Policy Lab, a nonpartisan research institute that uses data to inform public policy, was also on the panel.

Kirstyne Lange, equity consultant and first vice president of the NAACP local chapter, and former chair of the D’mitra Smith Human Rights Commission, moderated the event.

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You can contact editor Nashelly Chavez at 707-521-5203 or On Twitter @nashellytweets.

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