The Great Democracy Initiative (GDI) was a project of the Roosevelt Institute from 2018–2020 that produced actionable policy blueprints for addressing the structural problems facing our nation.
This report proposes a 21st Century Homestead Act that would counteract the legacy of racially discriminatory housing policies by investing in revitalization of distressed communities.
Many American cities are badly in need of revitalization, but too often government invests in tax cuts and incentives that primarily benefit outside investors. To encourage revitalization and build wealth for Americans who were excluded from historical programs that supported intergenerational wealth, Mehrsa Baradaran proposes a 21st Century Homestead Act that would create a public trust to purchase abandoned properties in target cities and grant them to qualified residents. By pairing this plan with a suite of programs to redevelop these cities, Baradaran offers a community wealth building approach for urban renewal.