Closing the Racial Wealth Divide: A Plan to Boost Black Homeownership

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  • Develop targeted programs that aim to reach those Black households best able to afford homeownership. For example, efforts that focus on African American households over the age of 40 with credit scores between 600 and 700 and a median annual household income of $40,000 to $100,000 can boost Black homeownership rates.
  • Homeownership efforts should also focus on southern and midwestern states with a largely middle-income African American population. These areas — including such states as Minnesota, Georgia, and Michigan — have a considerable potential to increase Black homeownership rates nationwide.
  • Programs that assist with down payments and credit repair are also much needed to help those who don’t currently qualify for a home loan but can be mortgage-ready in the future.
  • A bold federal program, such as the proposed 21st Century Homestead Act, is required to rehabilitate large clusters of abandoned properties in cities with high levels of vacancies. As outlined by University of California, Irvine law professor Mehrsa Bararadan, such a program, in cities with sizable amounts of vacant property, would allow for property to be granted “to qualified residents with a condition, enforced through a forgivable lien, to hold and improve the property for 10 years,” much as the original Homestead Act offered up to 160-acre agricultural grants to (primarily) white families, contingent on making improvements to the land over a five-year period.
  • Wraparound programs are also required, such as a federal jobs program that combines infusing greater income and homeownership opportunities targeted at African Americans.
  • Housing reforms must also encourage federal resources to be invested to boldly address the devaluation of Black neighborhoods and enable communities to develop new homes and preserve existing affordable housing stock.
  • To ensure accountability, private corporations, large banks, and government agencies should declare a long-term goal and report annually on progress toward that goal. Specifically, we recommend setting that goal as ensuring a 60-percent Black homeownership rate by 2040.

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Dedrick Asante-Muhammad focuses on studying and advocating for solutions concerning racial economic inequality and the racial wealth divide in particular.

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Dedrick Asante-Muhammad

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad focuses on studying and advocating for solutions concerning racial economic inequality and the racial wealth divide in particular.

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