Boost for BIPOC Homeownership: City Granted National Funds

Albuquerque Grants

A consortium of some of the world’s largest financial institutions and foundations has endowed the City of Albuquerque with two grants aimed at boosting homeownership among its Indigenous and Black residents. The grants, disbursed by Living Cities, are part of an effort to promote economic equity and access to homeownership in marginalized communities.

This generous funding, amounting to $550,000, was awarded to the city earlier this month. Albuquerque was distinguished as one of six cities to receive a slice of a substantial $3.2 million grant package. The other beneficiaries included Memphis, Tennessee; Austin, Texas; Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Rochester, New York.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, in a public statement, underscored the significance of this financial boon: “We are doing more than ever before to ensure Black and Native residents have the resources and opportunities to become homeowners,” he asserted. “Homeownership is a key pathway to creating generational wealth, and expanding housing options for these communities builds a better and more equitable Albuquerque.”

Not content with merely enhancing homeownership rates among Albuquerque’s Native and Black populations, the city has comprehensive plans for the grant money. A portion of the funds will be allocated towards establishing a pipeline of general contractors who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, according to an official press release.

A recent city report indicated that only around 16% of Black renters are currently in a position to transition to homeownership. Furthermore, Indigenous homeowners constituted the smallest group of new homeowners in the city since 2018, highlighting the stark need for initiatives such as these.

In a promising development, the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Black Community Engagement (OBCE) was chosen to be part of a national accelerator aimed at promoting Black homeownership in the city. Nichole Rogers, an OBCE liaison, mentioned that the accelerator would, among other things, provide technical support to the city to devise and monitor plans for Black families navigating the home buying process.

The significant grant funding was made possible thanks to the Wells Fargo Foundation and Citi Foundation, who partnered with Living Cities through the Closing the Gaps Network. The network, as described by Living Cities, is dedicated to a decade-long initiative that unites city leaders committed to envisioning and fostering an anti-racist society through the transformation of government policies, practices, and operations.

Joe Scantlebury, president and CEO of Living Cities, highlighted their commitment in a statement, saying, “We believe that removing barriers to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color owning homes and small businesses is key for our nation’s future.” The recent grants reflect this dedication to driving equity in homeownership and wealth creation.

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