Rescuing black homeownership to build wealth and stabilize communities

There's a big word that's floating around Chicago these days that excites some and scares others.  It all depends on which side of the fence you're on.  People who are against it says it's detrimental to certain communities, particularly for residents of color.  People who are for it say it's "not the great evil" it's made out to be.  No matter what, it's a word that tends to elicit strong emotions.


Somewhere in the middle between the opposing sides there are certain organizations seeking to help some vulnerable residents ride the wave of a city which by many indications is on the rise.

A decade after the housing crash destroyed the American Dream for millions of homeowners, black homeownership rates have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s, hobbling African-Americans' efforts to build their wealth.

Nationally, only 42.2 percent of blacks owned homes in 2016, compared with 71.9 percent of whites, according to a new report by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

And in Chicago, the gap between black and white homeownership rates is even more extreme. Only 38.9 percent of African-Americans owned homes in the Chicago area in 2015, compared with 74 percent of whites. Before the housing crash, almost half of African-Americans in the Chicago area owned homes, according to Harvard's research.

Chicago Tribune article "Why black homeownership rates lag even as the housing market recovers" 7/21/17

I recently spoke with Courtney Jones, President of the Dearborn Realtist Board (DRB) which organized an event happening tomorrow to increase the number of black families buying homes in Chicago.  "There was an implosion in black wealth when the housing bubble burst almost ten years ago," Jones said. "Established in 1941, Dearborn Realtist Board is one of the select organizations in Chicago advocating for black housing and the ability to build wealth through real estate. Our parent organization, The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, has a national initiative to put 2 million new homeowners in homes over the next 5 years. This initiative was started in 2016."

[to read the rest of this article, click here]