By: David M. Foster, CFP®, CAP®
Hello, listeners, and welcome to the 15th episode of the Gateway Giving Podcast!
Today, I have an interview with Will Jordan, the Executive Director, and Elisabeth Risch, the Assistant Director of the St. Louis Metropolitan Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC). The EHOC seeks to ensure equal access to housing and places of public accommodation for all people through education, counseling, investigation, and enforcement.
It can be tempting to imagine that, since the Fair Housing Act has been in place for over 50 years now, housing discrimination is a thing of the past. But, as you’ll hear in this discussion, housing discrimination is alive and well. Even if it wasn’t, the legacy of past housing discrimination is still with us today.
The median white family in the U.S. has a net worth that is roughly 10 times that of the median black family, and home equity, or the lack thereof, is the single greatest contributor to that gap. I am no expert on housing discrimination, historical or current, but I am an expert on building wealth and how compound interest works, and, from that lens, it’s easy to understand why this gap persists. Prior to the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it was legal to discriminate against someone for the purpose of housing based on the color of their skin, which means that, even if the Fair Housing Act had magically fixed everything overnight, most black families had to start from scratch on their home equity building journey, while white families had been on that journey for decades with lots of help from the federal government along the way.
So, it makes sense that housing policy is one of the most important places to focus if we’re trying to right the wrongs of our past. The EHOC, like so many nonprofits in our area, is working hard not only to provide relief to those who are being wronged currently, but to change the way our region operates so that we can prevent these problems in the future. And, as you’ll hear in the interview, this isn’t just a racial issue. Housing discrimination cuts across all lines; income, race, family status, age, gender, etc. In fact, the number one source of housing discrimination today is against people with disabilities.
As always, if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions for people or organizations for me to interview, you can email me at email@example.com. Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Will Jordan and Elisabeth Risch!