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Gov’t sponsored bank judges applicants’ ‘diversity’ before handing out key housing grant money

by

Daily Caller News Foundation

A government-sponsored bank ran a grant competition in November that partially judged applicants under the rubric of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) of Atlanta recently ended the application period for an $8 million grant program that awards projects that are either owned by a minority, woman or disabled person or plans to deliver housing to those groups if it is a non-profit, according to a document from the FHLBank Atlanta. While the FHLBank Atlanta does not directly receive federal funding, it is part of the FHLBank system, which was established by Congress in 1932, and receives special benefits like being able to raise funds at interest rates that are higher than those from the U.S. Treasury, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“We are committed to embedding DEI principles across all levels of our organization and into all elements of our internal and external operations, strategic planning, and decision making,” according to the document from the FHLBank Atlanta. “We know that progress cannot be achieved through symbolic gestures or complacency; therefore, we challenge ourselves to be self-reflective, hold each other accountable, and continuously evaluate our practices to ensure the full integration of DEI into our culture. We are collectively stronger through an inclusive culture.”

The DEI category counts for 15 points toward an applicant’s total score, which is measured out of 50, and is tied for the highest component next to the calculated percentage of the funds that would be covered for the project, according to the FHLBank Atlanta. Other categories include member financial participation for 10 points, which is determined by whether the developer is committed to funding the project beyond the loan, and 5 points for both whether the project involves reused property and rural property.

The project aims to give $500,000 to each winning applicant in order to provide equity for multifamily developments catering to households that bring in 120% or less of the local area’s median income, according to the FHLBank Atlanta. Projects must already be at least 50% finished and need to be completed 12 months from the funding date, ranging from Dec. 12 to 31.

DEI initiatives, which gained traction following the death of George Floyd, have been losing steam recently, with the total number of American organizations with a DEI budget dropping from 58% to 54% from 2022 to 2023. Many companies have been moving away from DEI language and policies due to concern that the Supreme Court could have a similar ruling on the subject to its ruling in June that ended race-based admission practices at both public and private colleges and universities.

Conservatives have been increasingly targeting corporate DEI practices since the June Supreme Court decision, with Republican attorneys general sending letters to dozens of employers in June warning them against using racial preferences and quotas when hiring. The Fearless Fund, an Atlanta-based investment manager, was sued in August over a grant program that only listed black women as eligible applicants.

Major companies like Netflix, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery all had exits from high-profile DEI executives earlier this year and have laid off thousands of diversity-focused employees since last year.

The FHLBank Atlanta did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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