Federal government policies, while benefitting some urban areas, have historically been detrimental to African-American people. Years of welfare and housing policies have placed central city residents, especially African-Americans, at a disadvantage which they have not overcome. Policies that once denied benefits to Black people, such as public welfare and federally-insured mortgages, morphed into stigmatized policies which, when available to Blacks, became obstacles to their advancement. These same policies enabled the majority White population to do what they were initially designed to do – provide a toehold during a period of temporary economic decline after which personal advancement was possible.

The effects of public welfare and housing policies may help to explain the vast differences in the economic status of Blacks as compared to Whites reported in recent research. The current wage Black-White gap is wide, but more telling is the enormous wealth gap between the two groups historically and currently. The Black-White wage gap increased between 2000 and 2018 while the Black-White wealth gap was the same in 2016 as it was in 1962. This paper explores how changes in the objectives, design, implementation of welfare and housing assistance have contributed to the wealth disparity and accumulation of assets. Intentionally antiracist policies are needed to counter the racist impacts of past and present policies.