Senator Smith Introduces Bill to Study Connection between Historical Racist Discrimination and Current Disparities in Housing

Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced on July 29 the “Mapping Housing Discrimination Act” to examine the connection between historical racial discrimination and current racial disparities in housing. If enacted, the bill would create a grant program for academic institutions to study the history of racially restrictive covenants – which were used as tools of discrimination to keep Black families and other households of color from moving into all-white neighborhoods –to better understand their scope and legacy. The bill would create a national, public database at HUD of historical housing discrimination patterns in property records and support local governments’ efforts to digitize local property records.

“Racially restrictive covenants and other forms of historic housing discrimination played a key role in shaping neighborhoods during the 20th century, and the legacy of these policies is still felt today,” said Senator Smith. “I’m inspired by the work being done at the University of Minnesota to map racially restrictive covenants so we can better understand which communities were impacted by these policies in our own backyard. My bill would support other universities in doing the same kind of research so that more communities have a better understanding of past housing discrimination and can address these disparities going forward.”

Read a summary of the bill at:

Read the text of the bill at: