Focus Area

Homeownership
& City Engagement

Homeownership remains the primary wealth-building tool for households of color despite the deep legacies of discrimination associated with the pathway to homeownership.

A home is often a family’s most significant asset; Black and Latino/Latine households especially, are less likely to have diverse assets and are more likely to rely on homeownership as a primary means of building wealth.

View the Urban Institute Report

Our Solution

Addressing Systemic Barriers by Leveraging Collective Action

Living Cities works with our members, cities, and partners to increase access to and preservation of homeownership to sustain and grow wealth.

Homeownership offers an opportunity to build significantly more wealth than is possible when renting. For instance, Black homeowners have a median net worth of $113,300, and Black renters have a median net worth of $1,830 (these figures are $164,800 and $5,800 for Hispanic homeowners and renters). However, households of color have lower homeownership rates than white households, contributing to the racial wealth gaps.

We aim to test innovative products to shift how systems determine risk based on race, support capacity and technical assistance needs locally, and create shared learning opportunities to boost homeownership for people of color.

With support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, Living Cities launched a multi-year initiative designed to support local government and community leaders within the Year of Reckoning cohort in advancing anti-racist solutions to bolster BIPOC homeownership.

Area Initiatives

Business Starts & Growth Year of Reckoning

Participating Cities & Partners

Albuquerque, NM
Office of Equity and Inclusion

Austin, TX
Equity Office

Minneapolis, MN
Youthprise

Memphis, TN
Division of Housing & Community Development

Rochester, NY
Mayor’s Office of Financial Empowerment, 
Office of Neighborhood & Business Development,
Office of City Planning, and Rochester Housing

St. Paul, MN
Dept. of Planning and Economic Development

Area Successes

Helping Cities and Local Partners Advance Data-Driven Solutions

By providing expert technical assistance informed by local community members and quantitative insights, the Homeownership Initiatives have helped to:

  • Create and support long-term homeownership affordability with community land trusts
  • Support mixed-use cooperative ownership models for BIPOC young adults
  • Provide direct cash assistance to families buying a home through land trusts
  • Develop city land to expand the stock of affordable homes meeting the needs of Indigenous and Black residents
  • Down payment assistance to descendants of families displaced from historically Black neighborhoods by highway construction
  • Conduct intentional community engagement with Head Start families with Housing Choice Vouchers to provide homeownership counseling to buy a home utilizing vouchers

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