Correcting ‘gaping’ home ownership disparity

[anvplayer video=”5156503″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – Gregory Jacob III has owned his home for about a year.

But he says the home-buying process started long before that.

“We didn’t really understand credit. Figuring out how to ask the right questions, but also feeling comfortable to ask questions,” Jacob said.

He and his wife come from Communities of Color and he says they had to learn, on their own, how to buy a home.

“It’s about representation. So walking into the bank and seeing someone who looks like me. I feel like that’s a big part of why the BIPOC community has a hard time or doesn’t even try to buy a home,” Jacob said.

That’s why he joined the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing as a co-designer. The Coalition got representatives like Jacob from different BIPOC communities to share their experiences about homeownership, for a report released on Friday.

“It’s about looking at some of your policies and procedures. Like your credit process. How is that influencing? Who are you approving versus not approving? This is the beginning. This is the beginning of the work, there’s a lot of work to be done,” explained Executive director of the Coalition for Rochester Area Housing JoMarie Morris.

Centuries of racist practices like redlining and single-family zoning policies contribute to the gaping disparity we see today, according to the report.

The report also instructs lenders, realtors, and housing support groups on how to empower BIPOC communities to own a home through action steps like:

  • Education through the homeownership process (before, during and after)
  • Mentorship – separate entity that guides home seekers throughout the process
  • Cultural competence of lenders/banks and realtors as a catalyst for change
  • Importance of representation in the workforce interacting with home seekers (lenders, realtors, community housing support stakeholders, etc.)

Jacob describes home ownership as a sense of security and pride.

“I own something big. I own something that, if something were to happen to me it can be passed down to my daughter one day,” Jacob said.