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SEATTLE TIMES: WA seeks to fix discrimination from racially restrictive property deeds

Updated: 7 days ago

By Laurel Demkovich

Washington State Standard

Washington has tens of thousands of homes with racially restrictive deeds dating back to the 1960s. 

Although modern laws prevent the language from being enforced, the deeds have had long-term effects undermining homeownership opportunities for people of color. A new program, set to launch in a few months, aims to right this wrong.

The Covenant Homeownership Program, which the Legislature passed last year, will begin distributing money in July to first-time homebuyers whose families experienced housing discrimination before 1968. 

A new study released last month outlined how the program should move forward, including by taking a “race-conscious” approach. 

Doing so can help address the harmful effects of discrimination Washington’s state and local governments caused by allowing language in home deeds explicitly prohibiting people of color from purchasing them. 

“A lot of folks don’t understand, while Washington wasn’t a slave-holding state, it did have racialized practices that impacted people of color,” Rep. Jamila Taylor, D-Federal Way, said.

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