This New Initiative Is Aiming to Create 3 Million New Black Homeowners

published Jan 29, 2022
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It’s been 54 years since the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the 1968 landmark legislation protecting Americans from discrimination while renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities. 

While the law was enacted in response to the prominent racial segregation of the era, the rate of Black homeownership today has plunged to lows not seen since then. In 2019, there were about 6.45 million Black homeowners in the United States. This put the Black homeownership rate at 42 percent, as low as it was in 1970. Meanwhile, the rate of white homeownership increased to 73 percent percent, according to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition

“The legacy of discriminatory practices, as well as official government practices and longstanding harm, has left us with great disparities in wealth and opportunity,” says Bryan Greene, the vice president of policy advocacy for the National Association of Realtors. 

A new initiative called 3by30 is looking to combat this disparity. A project of the Black Homeownership Collaborative, the program plans to create 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030 with a seven-point plan of actionable and scalable steps.

“The goal with 3by30 is to recognize that [legacy of discrimination] and to try to figure out where we can begin to make more progress,” Greene says.

Executives from the National Association of Realtors sit on the steering committee for the Black Homeownership Collaborative, while a larger group of stakeholders, including the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the NAACP, and Bank of America, also contribute. Together, the members of the collaborative seek to address the lasting effects a long and complex history of racism has had on generations of Black Americans in this country. 

“If you consider the fact that wealth begets more wealth and disadvantage compounds disadvantage, it’s sometimes very hard to close those wealth gaps,” Greene says.

Tactics such as red-lining, racially restrictive covenants, discrimination in appraisals, denying access to credit, and providing inferior housing facilities are just a few of the causes of the inequity in homeownership. Outside of housing, historical inequality in employment, education, and other parts of society have also contributed to this gap.  

Some points in 3by30’s seven-step plan include providing pre- and post-purchase counseling to borrowers who have been denied mortgage approvals, creating a sustainable and targeted down payment assistance program, investing in affordable housing, and offering special purpose credit programs.

The road ahead has its obstacles. Covid-19, which has had a disproportionate economic impact on communities of color, has provided yet another challenge for the collaborative to combat. “With a pandemic that’s going into yet another year we may see that [homeownership] gap widen,” Greene says. 

Still, the Black Homeownership Collaborative has already begun to move the needle in Washington. The organization joined together to advocate for specific housing provisions that were then passed in the now-stalled Build Back Better bill

“We do need to do something aggressive if we expect to create more homeownership opportunities in this country,” Greene says. “We have an interest in the housing industry, and I think society at large, to try to find ways to close these gaps, because our economy and our society benefit from more housing opportunities.”