Our country's legacy of redlining, racial covenants, and exclusionary zoning is easy to see today. Many formerly redlined communities remain isolated and distressed, and Black Americans disproportionately live in these communities. The Denverite published this article, which details how racist housing policies of the past are still shaping Denver neighborhoods.
The facts paint a clear picture of how racist housing policies of the past are driving today's wealth gap and disparity in homeownership rates for people of color. According to a 2016 study*, whites Coloradans are roughly twice as likely as Black Coloradans to own a home. And homeownership is a major contributor to white Americans having more than 10 times the average net worth of Black or Latino Americans. Learn more about housing discrimination through an historical timeline.
*Source: 2016 Corporation for Enterprise Development
Habitat has a moral and business imperative to be part of the solution.
Whether we see it or not, our home impacts everything. It influences our health and educational outcomes. It contributes to family stability and quality of life. And homeownership is the primary way we build wealth and pass it on to our children.
Unfortunately, too many families in our community don't have the opportunity to feel those positive effects of homeownership. Colorado's overall homeownership rate is nearly 65%, but for African Americans it is only 37%.
Many Americans get help buying their first home. In fact, nearly one-third of first-time homebuyers get gifts from family or friends to help with their down payment, and white homebuyers are twice as likely as Black homebuyers to get family help for a down payment. Habitat for Humanity provides that support and boost for all first-time homebuyers in the program.
For most of us, our homes are our biggest assets. The equity we build through homeownership is passed down from generation to generation—not only the equity one builds over time in the home's value, but also the additional money saved by not paying increased rent over many years. Homes are our nest eggs for education, retirement, and our children's futures.
At Habitat Metro Denver, we are working hard to help rectify past wrongs. By helping families of color buy their first homes, we help a new generation of Coloradoans share in this region's prosperity. In 2020, 76% of Habitat's first-time homebuyers were people of color.