House Bill Offers Financial Aid For Victims Of WA’s Old Racist Covenant Laws
(Olympia, WA) -- Washington State's legacy of racist property covenants are the target of a bill making the rounds at the State Capital in Olympia. Lawmakers are mulling House Bill 1474, which would increase efforts boosting Black home ownership by offering help in the form financial aid for those, who at one point in time, were excluded from buying homes in neighborhoods that were predominantly white.
HB 1474 would impact those who were personally excluded by the racist covenants as well as their descendants and would provide assistance for closing costs and down payments. The covenants were popular in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. They prohibited Black, Asian and Jewish residents from purchasing homes in areas deemed white neighborhoods. Those covenants didn't become illegal until 1968, when Washington state passed the Fair Housing Act outlawing housing discrimination. The bill is currently in the State House Committee on Housing. The last action taken on the bill was back on February 9th. It may get a final committee vote this week, which, if the bill passes, would then move to the full house for consideration.