Politics & Money

Bloomberg cites housing plan during concession speech

Greenwood Initiative aimed to create 1 million additional black homeowners

Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City who poured hundreds of millions of dollars into his attempt to win the Democratic presidential nomination, suspended his campaign and backed Joe Biden a day after the former vice-president won 10 out of Super Tuesday’s 14 states.

But, don’t count Bloomberg out. When he endorsed Biden during a Wednesday speech at the Bloomberg campaign headquarters in New York’s Times Square, housing issues weren’t far from his mind. Bloomberg has plenty of cash left, and he has a track record of putting money and attention toward issues he cares about.

Bloomberg cited his Greenwood Initiative announced in January that aimed to create an additional 1 million black homeowners through programs such as down payment assistance. The homeownership rate for black Americans reached a record low in 2019’s second quarter, according to Census data.

“I’m immensely proud of the campaign that we ran and the issues we raised and the sweeping, achievable plans we proposed,” Bloomberg said.

“That includes our Greenwood Initiative to right historic wrong, to fight racial inequality and make the promise of equal opportunity real for the black communities that have endured centuries of exploitation and discrimination,” Bloomberg said. “That work I’ve always thought is fundamental to the future of our country and to the more perfect union that each generation is called to build.”

Bloomberg, whose net worth is about $58 billion according to Forbes, is reallocating his resources toward a Biden win. That could mean that television commercials already booked might be switched out for spots supporting Biden. It also includes infrastructure – campaign offices staffed by workers who have been told to expect a paycheck through the end of November.

“I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,” Bloomberg said. “After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.”

Biden isn’t the nominee yet. He still has to beat Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). But if that happens and Biden wins the general election to become the 46th U.S. president, Bloomberg would have a grateful friend in high places. And, he’s made clear that housing issues are among his priorities.

In addition to Bloomberg’s plan to increase black homeownership, he also proposed:

  • Guaranteeing housing vouchers for Americans at or below 30% of their area’s median income and incentivizing cities to implement eviction prevention programs with federal grants. 
  • Raising the earned income tax credit and increasing the child tax credit for low-income households.
  • Boosting federal spending on homelessness from under $3 billion to $6 billion annually and supporting programs tackling mental health and substance abuse.
  • Setting aside $10 billion in federal funds for a competition to reward municipalities that remove obstacles to the construction of affordable housing by changing zoning rules or allowing property owners to build additional housing units. 
  • Enforcing Department of Housing and Urban Development rules that require cities to demonstrate progress in addressing segregation – for example, by removing exclusionary zoning regulations.

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