The new ABC News documentary Our America: Lowballed details how Black and Latinx families get far lower appraisals on their homes, and one of the families featured is a notorious case from Marin County.
It was exactly one year ago today that the Chronicle covered story of a Black Marin County family whose home appraisal was lowballed by nearly $500,000, an insulting discovery they realized when they got a $995,000 appraisal, then 10 months later had a white friend pose as the owner to the same appraisal firm, and suddenly the home was valued at $1.4 million. The story made national news, spurred a Department of Justice investigation, and naturally, the family is suing the appraisal firm.
That family is also featured in a new ABC News documentary Our America: Lowballed, which also documents the same happening to other Black and Latinx families, according to the Bay Area News Group.
The trailer above shows the parents Paul Austin and Tenisha Tate-Austin, describing how they had to “white wash” their Marin home to rid of any indications it had Black residents. “My wife went through her bathroom getting rid of her hair products,” Paul Austin says in the clip. “All of our books and our art, I just literally — like okay, did I miss something?”
Our own Kamala Harris turns up in the trailer as well, but the more powerful moment is an interview with Housing and Urban Development secretary Marcia Fudge. Fudge is asked about her own home being appraised at $25,000 less than the house just two doors down from her. An interviewer asks, “How does that happen to the HUD Secretary?”
“Because I live in a Black neighborhood,” Fudge quickly answers.
Our America: Lowballed is screening tonight at 6 p.m. at the Mill Valley Community Center, with the Austins on hand for a Q&A session afterward.
But you can watch the whole thing online now, on Hulu, or on the KGO TV website, and KGO’s reporting is prevalently featured in the documentary.
Image: ABC News