July 6 (UPI) -- Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris proposed a $100 billion U.S. Housing and Urban Development grant to provide up to $25,000 for down payment and closing costs.
Harris said the program would target low-income, first-time home buyers and would help racial minorities experience home ownership. To qualify, homeowners would have to rent or live in historically redlined communities that haven't historically rented or leased to minorities.
"So we must right the wrong and -- after generations of discrimination -- give black families a real shot at home ownership 00 historically one of the most powerful drives of wealth," Harris said at a speech in New Orleans.
The $100 billion investment would provide assistance to an estimated 4 million people.
Harris would also bring stronger penalties for anti-discrimination laws.
Black Americans have been "institutionally and historically deprived legally from having access" to housing, the greatest source of assets and wealth.
Owning a home helps families send their children to college by using equity in their home to pay for tuition. Families who don't own a home have to get student loans with outrageous interest rates.
Also on Saturday, rival Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren revealed a plan to diversify businesses that receive government contracts. The federal government awards $500 billion in contracts that provide employment for 25 percent of the nation's workers each year. Warren wants to ensure that these contracts are given to a diverse workforce that includes women and minorities.
"It's up to the federal government to say what the terms of those contracts are," Warren said. "It's not enough to talk the talk about equal pay for equal work. It's not enough to talk the talk about the diversity of your work force. You've got to walk the walk, or you're not getting these federal contracts."