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Habitat for Humanity International launches initiative to close the racial housing gap

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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 tackle inequalities in the US housing market.

Racial reckoning and George Floyd, and especially in the Richmond area known as the Confederate capital – really highlighted inequality of opportunity, said Mary Kay Huss, CEO of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity.

The beginning of the wealth of generations is not easily accessible to everyone, and she hopes to change the narrative.

Ownership of the black house has been denied to so many people for several years over many systematic issues of racism, Huss said.

The National Association of Realtors finds that home ownership grew by 64.2% in 2020 – the highest annual growth ever. But the home ownership rate stands at 43% for black Americans and 72% for white Americans.

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

Richmond, like many cities across the country, suffered from red lining [and] blocking colored families from getting credit, Huss said.

Habitat for Humanity hopes to break down those decades of barriers through financial education classes, credit building, advance payments, and other programs.

The initiative comes after rising inflation and mortgage rates, putting the nonprofit in greater demand to turn barriers into progress.

I really think Habitat has the right model, it has the right program, the scope is there, the name recognition is there. So it works. We just need to do more, she said.

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

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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