Andrew Grant Houston
Black wealth remains near zero due to centuries of systemic anti-Black racism and is on a trajectory to only worsen. In Seattle, white wealth is nearly 20x more than Black wealth. What specific actions will you take to close the Black-white wealth gap?
How much of the Black-white wealth gap will you close while in office?
Who are you working with in the Black community to close it?
How will you support investing federal funding directly and specifically into the Black community in the next two years?
My first priority on these issues is to overturn I-200. Without eliminating this barrier, it will not be possible to make direct investments into the Black community without legal challenges. That said, I have a number of programs focused on tackling the Black/White wealth gap by increasing access to high-paying, union jobs and increasing homeownership.
My “Just Transition Tax” gets at a lot of this. By implementing a 1% income tax, we will raise $400 million and invest into four main areas. This includes $100 million toward green apprenticeships—increasing the workforce needed to expand our housing—which will allow our community members to earn great wages developing the housing we need for their own communities. It would also commit $100 million of the funds into the Equitable Development Initiative because I recognize there are many great community-led projects ready to be executed but simply lack the funds.
With homeownership, I am focused on two large items: 1) Expanding our city’s homeownership programs specifically for Black residents 2) allowing more development across the city and providing resources that enable more residents of color to be able to self-develop their own projects. Because we need nearly 200,000 homes to meet the demands of those living in our city right now, we will need every person we can get to be a part of that solution. It is also a great opportunity for the Black community to build generational wealth and close the gap swiftly. That is why the majority of my focus for federal investments will go toward housing projects, and by subsidizing housing we can reduce the cost of development and invite more Black residents to be a part of the solution.
These ideas come specifically from my work as a Black architect and specifically as someone who has organized with Africatown in the past. I have also been part of the KCEN Coalition through Share the Cities and currently serve as the Chief Architect of MC^2 Equity, an all Black development firm explicitly focused on helping the Black community develop building projects and build generational wealth.