An affordable housing project in Santa Monica, United States, will prioritize Black families in order to right the wrong the community underwent when its members were displaced due to urban renewal projects in the 1950s and 1960s.
“This sets an example of what a community can do – not just talk about longstanding injustices but actually bring the displaced people back,” says Kevin McKeown, the former Santa Monica city council member who spearheaded the proposal.
Initially, the new preference program will be open to 100 families. According to estimates, there are roughly 2,500 families affected by the previous infrastructure projects that led to displacements. Cities such as Austin, Texas, Berkeley, California, and Portland Oregon have similar programs in place, granting the Black community a “right to return” to their neighborhoods. The Santa Monica pilot project aims at creating intergenerational wealth by boosting access to housing, jobs, and more.