SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A $1.25 million grant could help Black families become future homeowners. The San Diego Foundation, Urban League and Local Initiatives Support Corporation launched the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program.
“I've been in California for almost five years, and I have been looking for a home,” said Stella Newton.
Newton is a mother of four with three children living in their hotel room. She works two jobs, one at Palomar Hospital caring for COVID patients and Hospice at North Coast.
Stella says each time she goes down the home buying path she is denied.
“I have not been able to qualify for a mortgage due to credit,” said Newton.
Crystal Barry is a realtor and bought her first home last year. “Unfortunately, with the Black community generational wealth is an issue, we don't get the help either with the down payment,” said Barry.
The San Diego Foundation, Urban League San Diego and Local Initiatives Support Corporation say they saw the racial inequities play out last year and wanted to change that with a $1.25 million San Diego Black Homebuyers Program.
“So in many cases, they're starting from zero. And what this program does is gives them a slight advantage. It doesn't address all of the other responsibilities that are incumbent upon a buyer, but it gives them a little bit of an advantage,” said Pamela Gray Payton, San Diego Foundation Vice President, Chief Impact and Partnership Officer.
Black homebuyers can receive a minimum of $40,000 and up to $70,000 in grant assistance toward their home. Financial literacy is also part of the program. The Foundation says the fund could help as many as 35 Black families but as seed money grows it could help even more families.
“Yes, it absolutely is part of a formula that helps to create generational wealth,” said Gray Payton.
Studies show Black households have about a tenth of the net worth than the average White household.
LISC reports in San Diego County, the rate of Black homeowners is less than half as many as Whites.
“So we need to have the inequity of the qualifying process change,” said Carlton Brown, past president of National Association of Real Estate Brokers.
He is also the founder of Petra House which is a Christian-based non-profit that helps the homeless and assists in housing.
Ramona Jones also sits on the board and says the program is a start to help build up economic empowerment.
“Having funding streams that allow us to have monies for closing costs and down payment assistance is a start. But it's not the only thing. It's a cultural investment that we have to make with our families,” said Jones.
Stella says no matter the circumstances she’ll keep dreaming of owning her own home.
“I just want to be stable for my children. And I want to show them that this is how you go at it,” said Newton.
The Urban League is hosting a Homebuyer Expo on Saturday from 9am-1pm at the Educational Cultural Expo in Mountain View.
One of the qualifications requires the homeowner to earn 80% to 120% of San Diego's Area Median Income (AMI) income which is $95,100. That means a household income between $75,000 and $114,00.
To review the guidelines for the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program click here.
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