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CalHFA Launches Building Black Wealth Initiative to Address Homeownership Gap

Published on February 9, 2021 by California Housing Finance Agency
CalHFA Launches Building Black Wealth Initiative to Address Homeownership Gap

Black homeownership campaign includes education, targeted outreach and connection to resources

SACRAMENTO, February 9, 2021 — In alignment with Fair Housing priorities set by Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration and the California State Legislature, and in recognition of the fact that historical housing discrimination is still having negative effects on the ability of Black Californians to achieve the dream of homeownership, CalHFA is honoring Black History Month by launching its Building Black Wealth initiative.

The purpose of the campaign — which includes elements of education, outreach and connection to housing resources — is to address the significant gap in homeownership between Black families and other races. The Black homeownership rate in California has always been the lowest when compared to other races and has fallen since the Great Recession. For the past decade, California’s Black homeownership rate has been lower than it was in the 1960s, when it was completely legal to discriminate against Black homebuyers. As of 2019, 41% of Black families owned their homes, while 68% of White families and 66% of Asian and Pacific Islanders were homeowners. Latino families owned homes at a rate of 49%, which is also low. However, 53% of CalHFA’s loans serve the Latino community.

“Historically, homeownership has been the most effective way for families to build wealth, which can then be passed down from generation to generation,” said CalHFA Executive Director Tia Boatman Patterson. “Not all Americans have had an equal opportunity to build this wealth. For Black Americans, many factors – including a history of exclusionary housing policies and practices, a dwindling supply of accessible housing and lending discrimnation – have blocked their ability to become homeowners at the same rates as other races.”

From the redlining that started in the 1930s to racist covenants excluding nonwhites from homeownership through the late 1960s to predatory lending in the 2000s, America has a long history of creating barriers to Black homeownership. Meanwhile, most white families have had easier paths to homeownership and used that knowledge and financial stability to be homeowners for generations.

It is that historical disparity that CalHFA aims to address with the Building Black Wealth initiative, which is introduced in more detail on the Agency’s Building Black Wealth web page.

“The two biggest barriers Black Californians face are education about the housing finance system – what has led us to where we are and what options are currently available – and the inability to save or receive family assistance for the upfront costs of buying a home,” said Boatman Patterson.

CalHFA is providing that education through a series of “Did You Know?” videos on the history of housing discrimination, as well as connecting first-time homebuyers with homeownership education and counseling. In the coming months, CalHFA will produce more informational videos exploring homeownership tips such as building up credit, managing financing and preparing the necessary documentation, telling Black homeownership success stories and profiling real estate professionals who are active in the Black community.

Additionally, connections to available statewide resources such as CalHFA’s Down Payment Assistance and free housing counseling for those in danger of foreclosure or eviction will be shared through community-based organizations and media so that the information reaches the target audience.

Prospective homeowners and anyone interested can stay caught up on the Building Black Wealth initiative by visiting the website and signup up for email updates.

The Building Black Wealth initiative is officially supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the California Association of Black Real Estate Trade Association. Other organizations wishing to partner with CalHFA to help increase Black homeownership in California are invited to contact Ashley Garner at agarner@calhfa.ca.gov.

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The California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 with the goal of helping more Californians find a place to call home. CalHFA has helped more than 201,000 low- and moderate-income homebuyers with $32.6 billion in first mortgages and used $6.1 billion in financing for the construction and preservation of more than 70,000 affordable rental housing units throughout the state. CalHFA is a self-supported state agency that doesn’t rely on taxpayer dollars for its operational costs. For more information on CalHFA programs, and how we are creating progressive financing solutions for affordable housing in California, visit www.calhfa.ca.gov or call toll free at 877.9.CalHFA (877.922.5432).