Black Homeownership Project

Organization Name: Center for NYC Neighborhoods

Project Title: Black Homeownership Project

Project Location: Citywide, with a focus on Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx

Project Description:
Since the financial crisis, New York City has seen a huge drop in the number of Black homeowners: in Queens alone, the City lost more than 20,000 Black homeowners between 2005 and 2017. In response, we’ve developed transformative pilot programs to find new pathways to grow homeownership among New York's Black communities and optimize existing resources, while taking into consideration both the historical and systemic racism of discriminatory lending practices. These five pilot projects include: (1) Down Payment Assistance Navigator, a digital tool to help homebuyers access downpayment assistance resources; (2) Savings Accelerator, a program to help homeowners multiply their ability to save money; (3) Pathways to Tenant Purchase, a three-pronged approach to provide opportunities for tenants to purchase through technical assistance and partnerships; (4) Generation to Generation Estate Planning, a program designed to preserve and grow intergenerational wealth in Black households by enhancing awareness of estate planning and increasing pro bono estate planning services for low-income homeowners; (5) Homeowner Landlord Services, a program to support the financial stability of homeowner landlords.

Community Impact:
“Homeownership is a big thing for us… It goes back to our ancestors — from them getting a little piece of property, you know, that little piece of property with a little piece of land and everything. It's a milestone…I have something that I can call my own.” –Nadine, from Canarsie.

The racial wealth gap is both the cause—and a reflection of—the much lower homeownership rate of Black families, as a house is still the most valuable asset for most Americans. In recent years, skyrocketing prices and high credit score requirements have made it even more difficult for Black families to buy a home and for Black homeowners to refinance and fund repairs. Successful home buyers in New York City often have to go outside of their neighborhoods to find homes that they can afford.

The Black Homeownership Project pilot programs will improve potential homeowners’ ability to save money, access credit and down payment assistance, purchase their own homes, and keep property in their families. In 2022, we will educate more than 10,000 New Yorkers through BHP pilot programs and deliver intensive services to over 600 individuals and families.

Organization Description:
We promote and protect affordable homeownership in New York so that middle- and working-class families can build strong, thriving communities. Established by public and private partners, the Center meets the diverse needs of homeowners throughout New York State by offering free, high quality services. Today the Center is working to address historic racial injustices in homeownership, tackling climate change, and helping New Yorkers to recover from the pandemic.

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