The National Black Church Initiative is working to increase black home ownership to 51 percent

By Fatiha Belfakir
Especially for the AFRO
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Churches are doing all they can to do their part to increase black home ownership.

Reverend Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative (NCBI), recently spoke to AFRO about his organization’s ten-year goal of providing support and resources to prospective African Americans as they approach the home purchase process.

“Our program is trying to increase black homeownership to 51 percent,” said Evans of NCBI’s Black Homeownership 51 Percent program. “That’s our goal right now given rising inflation, rising interest rates, non-existent housing stock and the chaos in the mortgage industry.”

Evans explained that the program provides homebuyers with the education and guidance needed to guide them and provide them with the comprehensive tools and resources needed to buy a home.

“We urge couples who are unable to buy homes at this time to find a second job, continue saving, and then apply for the federal assistance program available in their city,” Evans said.

There are a number of barriers that prevent Black and Brown Americans from becoming homeowners, such as: B. the inability to save for a down payment and closing costs due to low wages and high rental costs.

Lack of access to credit and poor credit history, regulatory burdens on housing production, lack of proper education about the home buying process and the programs available. And then there is discrimination and redlining.

Evans told AFRO that the crisis seen today for low- and middle-income Americans is at its worst as rents continue to rise during a pandemic.

Evans said, “The biggest lie is that ‘the States don’t have money.'”

“States are overloaded with billions of unrestricted Covenant money and as you know very well they have used that money for everything. We need public pressure to revive these programs,” Evans said. “They are diverting these funds to these stakeholders.”

Evans said many of the big white developers in urban cities across the country are “destroying America for who they are [working with] the banks that decide who lives where and with what postcode.”

Fathia Karsha, a 60-year-old communications specialist originally from Somalia, told AFRO that she has seen firsthand how difficult it is to find a home in an area she likes.

Karsha hit the road to home ownership last year after saving enough money for the down payment. After a year of diligent and tedious searching in her preferred area, she decided to give up her search because she could not compete with other buyers with money and time to wage a bidding war.

“I’ve always been shown low-quality homes in deprived neighborhoods. Every time I found a suitable home, other buyers made higher offers that exceeded my ability to purchase the home,” Karsha said.

She also found it difficult to work with credit agencies.

“Even [with] Since my income entitled me to buy the house, the loan brokerage demanded stricter and stricter conditions. I have to say my experience was not pleasant but I learned a lot about the housing market and how it works.”

The National Black Church Initiative (NCBI) has set itself the goal of increasing black home ownership to 51 percent in ten years. (Photo by the National Black Church Initiative on Facebook)

Erika S. Evans, a real estate agent licensed in DC, Maryland and Virginia, advised buyers considering a home purchase to consider contacting a licensed real estate professional who will help the client develop a plan of action based on the individual needs of the buyer.

“The agent will recommend a credit repair specialist if the buyer needs to improve their credit rating. In the meantime, buyers should continue to save aggressively on their down payment and closing costs,” Evans said. “A great real estate professional provides buyers with available programs for first-time home buyers and loan programs that are beneficial to the buyer.”

Evans is proof that the church is key to connecting potential buyers in the black community with the right information.

He encourages churches across the country to join the initiative by first learning about and getting involved in local home ownership programs.

“We call [on people in] every single state in the Union to know the status of theirs [state’s] Program. Was it funded? Has it increased? As [do you] apply – all of that,” he said.

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