In the United States, Black homeownership has declined drastically within the last 15 years – more than any other racial or ethnic group. Two years ago, the Black homeownership rate was only 41%, which is equivalent to the percentage prior to the enactment of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. To date, the US Census Bureau reports a small increase in Black homeownership — 45.1% compared to 74.5% for white homeowners.
Homeownership is the largest method of building and maintaining generational wealth that can be used to enhance lives. A myriad of surveys have revealed that families with safe, stable, and affordable housing have fewer health problems, better school performance and less psychological stress. A stable house/home is more than a structure; housing stability provides life within a community, a sense of belonging, and helps provide a deeper sense of self. Poor-quality housing is associated with more depression, anxiety, and aggression from childhood well into young adulthood.
Maintaining a sense of community and economic unity encourages the following:
● Societal cohesiveness, which means that community voices are heard and validated.
● Economic growth and development.
● Human health services, including medical care.
The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) works to increase the Black homeownership rate across the nation in an effort to bridge the wealth gap. Educational campaigns to improve financial literacy and consumer credit impacts are key to removing the barriers of economic success and building generational wealth. The organization is actively applying pressure to the federal government on improving Black homeownership. Increasing Black homeownership directly combats the current housing crisis and racial disparities in environmental justice and equitable healthcare.
According to the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), in cities and towns across America, low-income communities and communities of color are forced to shoulder pollution’s heaviest burdens. In many of these areas, there is an influx of individuals suffering from environmental illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes, lead-based toxicity, and various cancers.
A legacy of systemic racism in the real estate market remains. The Fair Housing Act was introduced to eliminate housing discrimination. However, it didn’t eradicate racial discrimination, bridge the wealth gap, or nullify the impacts of systemic redlining that continue to plague communities of color. Additional tools, support, programs, education, and funds are absolutely needed! It is the goal of NAREB to increase Black wealth through homeownership and improve the overall success of the Black community.
For more information, please visit https://www.nareb.com/
Contributed by Muriel Williams-Thompson
Denver NAREB (Denver Board of Realtists), President