Homeownership Disparities Work Group

In the 2021-23 Operating Budget, the Legislature tasked the Department of Commerce with convening a diverse homeownership-focused work group to “assess perspectives on housing and lending laws, policies, and practices; facilitate discussion among interested parties; and develop budgetary, administrative policy, and legislative recommendations.” 

The department was required to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature that would:

  • Evaluate the distribution of state affordable housing funds and its impact on the creation of homeownership units serving Black, indigenous, and people of color;
  • Evaluate the eligibility requirements, access, and use of state-funded down payment assistance funds and their impact on homeownership rate disparities;
  • Review barriers preventing Black, indigenous, and people of color from accessing credit and loans through traditional banks for residential loans; and
  • Provide budgetary, administrative policy, and legislative recommendations to increase ownership unit development and access to credit.  (ESSB 5092, Sec 129 (100), Laws of 2021)
 The Report

Work Group Members

The department recruited and appointed a group of stakeholders representing many perspectives that intersect with housing. The resulting 32-person Homeownership Disparities Work Group was intentionally diverse across race, ethnicity, gender, and income. The Work Group consisted of experts in affordable homeownership, real estate, fair housing, mortgage lending, housing development, and the specific needs of BIPOC communities. The Work Group had representation across the state and included two persons with lived experience buying homes through the Housing Trust Fund low-income homeownership program. Commerce’s Director Lisa Brown chaired the Work Group. 

View the Work Group Roster.


The department selected a consultant team to help coordinate the work group efforts and draft the legislative report. ECONorthwest, in collaboration with BDS Planning & Urban Design, led this important work, which included gathering data, conducting analysis, organizing and facilitating the Work Group’s discussions, and ultimately producing a report with recommendations to the Legislature for reducing racial disparities in Washington’s homeownership rates.

Work Group Meetings

The Work Group met five times from October 2021 to June 2022. These meetings were professionally facilitated and structured to allow for a baseline understanding of the issue, robust discussions of the barriers and recommendations, expert perspectives, and small group discussions. All meeting materials and agendas, including recorded presentations, can be viewed by accessing the links listed below.

Between the five Work Group meetings, each member met with the facilitation consultants one-on-one to share their perspectives on the project process, meetings, and the barriers and recommendations presented. During these conversations, Work Group members were encouraged to candidly express their thoughts and ask questions, to ensure that group discussions addressed the most important issues. These meetings were also used to prioritize and gauge consensus about the top issues and key recommendations. The process was designed to achieve unanimous consent when possible.

Meeting #1 – Oct. 25, 2021, 9 to 11:30 a.m. – Meeting documents 
Meeting #2 – Jan. 7, 2022, 9 a.m. to noon – 
Meeting documents 
Meeting #3 – Feb. 24, 2022,
9 a.m. to noon – Meeting documents 
Meeting #4 – Mar. 31, 2022, 9 a.m. to noon 
– Meeting documents
Meeting #5 – Jun. 7, 2022, 9 a.m. to noon – Meeting documents