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Washington residents impacted by housing discrimination may be eligible for a new home loan

The state has been collecting a new $100 fee from every real-estate transaction since January. That money will soon start to flow to people who have historically suffered from housing discrimination in the state.

More than 50,000 racial covenants have been documented in neighborhoods across Washington. Covenants and other policies prevented non-White and non-Christian families from owning homes and building wealth, contributing to a homeownership gap today where the homeownership rate of white Washington residents is almost double that of Black residents.

The money, which is part of the Covenant Homeownership Act passed by Washington's legislature last year, will go to down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a loan. It will be for first-time homebuyers who meet certain eligibility requirements. The loan program is scheduled to launch on July 1.

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Produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

Mayowa Aina covers cost-of-living and affordability issues in Western Washington. She focuses on how people do (or don't) make ends meet, impacts on residents' earning potential and proposed solutions for supporting people living at the margins of our community. Get in touch with her by emailing