Solving the housing crisis requires exposing and changing policies, practices, systems, and structures that currently worsen long-standing racial disparities and harm us all. 

The Housing and Land Justice Initiative at Race Forward brings our systemic approach toward racial justice to the housing and land development sector. We envision a housing system in which racial hierarchies have been eliminated, housing is a public good and a human right, and therefore, everyone, regardless of their race, has affordable and dignified housing.  

This vision is grounded in our deep understanding of our country’s long history of racist exclusion, expropriation and exploitation through policy, practice, and its racialized housing system. It centers on the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous, Latin(o/a/x/e), Asian, Pacific Islander and all people of color and our ability to possess the resources, power, and self-determination to ensure our neighbors and communities thrive.

We believe a new societal relationship to housing and land is needed in which “neighboring” is a tangible expression of love for the people in our communities and guarantees them a basic standard of living. We must all play a role in restoring our neighborhoods and making them safe, inclusive, climate-resilient, and healthy through truth-telling, relationship-building, trust, and solidarity. As an abundant nation, we have everything we need to realize housing justice for all in our lifetime.  

We believe an accountable and democratic government is a steward of the public good and housing is one of our most essential public goods. Historical and present-day housing public policies and governance are at the root of today’s increasingly corporatized housing market, concentrated poverty, residential segregation, land speculation, disinvestment, and displacement of communities of color. So, government must play a major role in advancing community-identified root solutions that lead to transformation and de-commodification of our housing system. 

Our Work

We prioritize measurable improvements in the housing conditions of people of color and protections that promote community cohesion and stability. We also recognize that housing justice requires challenging and replacing the harmful narratives about people of color with new narratives that assert our full humanity and inspire a more just future where housing is understood as a basic human need. 

HOUSING IS A PUBLIC GOOD AND HUMAN RIGHT_Erin Dale- Facing Race 2020- Natalie-Naee

Housing, Land, and Justice Artist Fellows

Race Forward is proud to introduce nine artists and culture bearers, who are participating in our 2024 Housing, Land, and Justice Artist (HLJA) Fellowship. Each fellow is tasked with creating an  original artwork or cultural production that uplifts the core narrative from the housing justice story platform published in the PolicyLink Housing Justice Narrative Toolkit.

2024 Housing Land and Justice Artist Fellows

Housing Justice is Racial Justice

Community organizers, residents with lived experience of housing injustice and artists came together to share how they use positive housing narratives in their campaigns. Here are their videos you can use to bring more people into the movement for housing justice. Together, we can shift the public debate in support of housing solutions that address the root causes of our unjust housing system.

Graphic of protest signs in support of housing justice

The Housing Justice Narrative Project

To seed and make pervasive racially just housing narratives, we participated in The Housing Justice Narrative project, a joint project between Race Forward, Community Change and PolicyLink to advance a pro-housing justice narrative. The partnership supports grassroots community organizers and organizations, artists and culture bearers, media makers, and institutional partners as they adopt new narratives and cultural strategies that accelerate organizing and policy wins for housing justice. Our recently released Messaging Guide equips renters and tenant organizers, homeowners, community leaders and housing policy advocates with research, tools, and strategies to bring more of their neighbors and constituents into the movement for housing justice.  

Download our Housing Justice Messaging Guide

Report Cover-Housing is a Basic Human Need

The Housing, Land, and Development Project

The Housing, Land, and Development (HLD) Project leverages our recent investments in housing narrative research, community partnerships, and expansion of our Government Alliance on Race and Equity, to:

  • Grow Power by building bridges between community-led housing initiatives and allies in local government
  • Transform Policy by contributing research and policy resources in support of advocacy for changes in the housing financing system and development sector - from housing financing, development practices, zoning, taxation, housing conditions, and more.  
  • Transform Institutions by supporting a network of racial equity practitioners in housing and planning agencies to accelerate the transformation of government and develop race-informed housing and land use policy.  


Join GARE’s HLD Networking Group 

Download the HLD Toolbox

Advancing Racial Equity in Housing, Land, and Development Cover