A new report by the Black Homeownership Project highlights the alarming decline in Black homeownership in New York City over the past 20 years, and the increased costs Black homeowners face compared to their white counterparts.

The project, an initiative from the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, found Black homeownership has declined 13% since 2000 and Black homeowners pay on average $7,000 more in closing costs than white homeowners.

In Brooklyn, 1,742 loans were originated for Black households in 2007. In 2017, that number was 881.

As part of the project, dozens of Black homeowners, housing counselors and program practitioners were surveyed over the last year to address the existing systemic issues that have led to a vast racial wealth gap and decline in Black homeownership – which has only been further exacerbated by the pandemic.

The Center said in a press release the findings supported a proposed slate of pilot programs that would increase homeownership among Black communities in NYC and work to close the racial homeownership and wealth gaps. Those programs include assistance with down payments, matched savings and tenant opportunities to purchase.

Center for NYC Neighborhoods CEO and Executive Director Christie Peale said in New York City, Black families made up only 18% of homeowners, yet they represented more than 60% of the Center’s clients looking for assistance in buying and keeping their homes.

“The homeownership gap is worse for Black Americans now than ever before and has only grown wider amid the pandemic,” she said.

“Through the Black Homeownership Project, we are uncovering new details of how these national trends show up locally and proposing NYC specific programs to create meaningful change so that Black homeowners can buy homes and stay in the communities they love.”

The five new pilot programs recommended by the Center include a down payment assistance navigator, with the research finding assembling a down payment was one of the greatest barriers to homeownership for Black New Yorkers; a savings accelerator, to help low- to moderate-income New Yorkers out of the feedback loop where a lack of access to safe and affordable financing can push them towards extractive financial products; and a homeowner landlord program focused on support services for mom-and-pop landlords to help preserve their source of affordable rentals, including education from City housing agencies, connecting with trusted lenders and contractors for repairs and support and more.

The pilot programs also include generational planning, that would increase proactive estate planning among Black homeowners in target neighborhoods through community engagement and service provision, and pathways to tenant purchase, which would take support the creation of new co-ops.

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