Announcing: The Tech, Bias, and Housing Initiative

November 10, 2021
an image of a toy house and keys in front of a green background

Today, TechEquity Collaborative is announcing the launch of our Tech, Bias, and Housing Initiative. We’re examining the promise and perils of housing technology; where tech companies have potential to either exacerbate inequities or promote greater access to housing. Ultimately, our goal is to strengthen the policies that prevent twenty-first-century housing innovations from carrying with them the racial injustices of the past. We’re working with advocates, community members, and companies committed to building a framework for ethical corporate practice.

What is the Tech, Bias, and Housing Initiative?

Whether you are trying to buy a home, apply for a rental property, or you’re looking for a roommate, there are an endless number of brand new companies and digital products offering to help you do just that. They promise speed, efficiency, and a modern approach to slow and sometimes exclusionary rental or homeownership processes.

These new companies are venture-backed and digitally-enabled—and they play an increasingly influential role in the economy. From new modes of housing construction to automated home buying, tech-enabled companies promise to scale to massive market share and reap higher valuations along the way. 

As unprecedented capital investment flows into this space, venture-backed companies’ winner-take-all approach to growth has the potential to exacerbate inequality in the housing space. Under these conditions, startups’ disruption mindset creates a risky landscape that could—without ethical frameworks and processes to ensure equitable outcomes—dramatically accelerate racial and economic inequities.

The Tech, Bias, and Housing Initiative examines these potential harms and biases through comprehensive research, corporate practice, and public policy advocacy.

What We’re Building

The Tech, Bias, and Housing Initiative has three main components:

  • Research: We will shed light on spaces where these new classes of companies could exacerbate—or mitigate—racial bias in the housing market.
  • Policy: In close partnership with other organizations in the housing justice movement, we will develop and advocate for public policy that addresses the harms we identify through our research.
  • Corporate Practice: We will work with companies who operate in this ecosystem to develop practices, standards, programming, and tools that can help prevent the types of harm identified in our research.

Check out our original research and publications below!