President Joe Biden’s pledge to ensure equity across the entire federal government has a dedicated enforcer when it comes to tackling racial bias in home appraisals.

Secretary Marcia Fudge, who now heads the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), recently released its equity action plan, which included a robust agenda to address the racial discrimination in housing. The issue also has its own line item in President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget in the amount of $86 million in grants earmarked to prevent and redress housing discrimination.

The funds will support state and local fair housing enforcement organizations and bolster education, outreach, and training on rights and responsibilities under federal fair housing laws. More specifically, the Biden-Harris administration has zoned in on the issue of racial bias in home appraisals.

HUD has attempted to drill down on addressing the issue by hiring Adjoa B. Asamoah to be the senior advisor for racial equity to Secretary Fudge. Asamoah, known for her role in creating The CROWN Act, is tasked with examining HUD’s policies and practices and conducting the critically important historical analysis needed to govern in a way that prioritizes and advances racial equity.

“It’s just important that the public understands that people of color, especially Black people, lose billions of dollars annually because their property is undervalued,” Secretary Fudge told theGrio exclusively. “If we could just make the market fair, Black people would accumulate so much more equity in their homes that they would really have a big nest egg to leave. So, what we have done is decided that it is important for us to expose the bias in the market and to make recommendations as to how we change it.”

Fudge noted that the issue of disparate home appraisals critically impacts the pocketbook and overall wealth of Black homeowners.

“So, we have the appraisals and the groups responding to our report, trying to make the effort to at least start the process of training people properly and not discriminating against people because they live in Black or Brown communities… We just want the market to be fair so that people who choose to live in communities of color will still get the value that they are due for their homes.”

The goal isn’t to simply expose wrongdoings but to look into consequences against appraisers who blatantly discriminate against Black and Brown homeowners. 

“Yes, at some point, there is going to be a punishment that will go along with it,” said the secretary. “You can go back to your lender and request another appraisal and you have a right to get one or you give them the steps by which they can bring actions against these appraisers and these lenders. So absolutely, you’re going to start to see that they are going to be held accountable and responsible for what they do.”