San Diego; March 12, 2024: Today, the Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) filed a federal lawsuit challenging unequal treatment based on race in San Diego’s new housing pilot program.

“If the City of San Diego is going to provide down payment and loan assistance to aspiring homeowners, it must do so without discriminating on the basis of race. America’s Finest City needs to live up to the bedrock principle of equal opportunity for all — including in housing,” said Jack Brown, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation.

The San Diego Housing Commission launched the First-Time Homebuyer Program for Middle-Income, Black, Indigenous, People of Color Households in 2023. The program provides up to $40,000 in grants and loans for down payments and closing costs.

But no matter who meets the eligibility requirements for residency, finances, and the like, this program is available only for individuals from certain races. The City provides assistance solely to “black, Indigenous and people of color” (BIPOC) households.

“The government should give reasonable assistance to prospective homebuyers on the basis of merit. Handing out race-based favors is not only divisive, but also unconstitutional. The City of San Diego should not waste precious public funds and resources on fostering illegal racial preferences or perpetuating identity politics,” said Wenyuan Wu, executive director at CFER.

The case is Californians for Equal Rights Foundation v. City of San Diego, filed in the Southern District of California. CFER is represented by Pacific Legal Foundation at no charge.

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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit law firm that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 17 wins of 19 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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