Habitat for Humanity International launches initiative to close racial housing gap

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 12:48 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2022 at 7:28 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Habitat for Humanity International announced it will invest over $25 million over the next three to five years to address inequities in the U.S. housing market.

“The racial reckoning and George Floyd, and particularly in the Richmond area being known as the capital of Confederacy - it really highlighted the disparity in opportunities,” Mary Kay Huss, CEO of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity, said.

The start of generational wealth isn’t easily obtainable for all, and she is hoping to change the narrative.

“Black homeownership has been denied to so many folks for some many years for a lot of systemic racism issues,” Huss said.

The National Association of Realtors finds homeownership jumped 64.2% in 2020 - the highest annual increase ever. But the homeownership rate sits at 43% for Black Americans and 72% for White Americans.

The study shows today’s gap is wider than its been in over 40 years.

“Richmond, like so many cities across the country, suffered from red-lining [and] blocking out Black families from obtaining credit,” Huss said.

Habitat for Humanity hopes to knock down those decades of barriers through financial literacy classes, credit building, down payment assistance and other programs.

The initiative comes on the heels of rising inflation and mortgage rates, putting the non-profit organization in higher demand to turn barriers into breakthroughs.

“I really think Habitat has the right model, has the right program, the outreach is there, the name recognition is there. So, it works. We just need to be doing more of it,” she said.

The initiative is still in its early phases, but Huss said the programs would likely be available to anyone who needs them.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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