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Opening Doors: Empowering Black Homeownership Across the Continuum

Building Equity and Empowerment Through Black Homeownership

As we observe Pierce County Affordable Housing Week, it's imperative to focus on a critical aspect of housing equity—Black homeownership. Despite strides towards inclusivity and fairness, Black families in Pierce County and across the nation still face significant hurdles in achieving homeownership.

Black homeownership is more than a marker of individual achievement; it is a crucial driver of economic stability and generational wealth within Black communities. Historically, discriminatory practices such as redlining and biased lending have not only restricted access but have also perpetuated a wealth gap that lingers profoundly today. Addressing these inequities is essential for the prosperity of Black families and the overall health of our economy and society.

  • While the U.S. homeownership rate was 65.5% in 2021, only 44% of Black Americans owned a home—nearly 29 percentage points less than their White counterparts (Urban Institute).

  • Black homeowners and renters are disproportionately burdened by housing costs, with 30% of Black homeowners spending more than 30% of their income on housing (National Association of Realtors).

  • In Pierce County and Washington State, the gap is stark, with Black homeownership rates significantly trailing behind those of non-Hispanic white households—a gap of 19 percentage points statewide (Washington State Department of Commerce).

The barriers to Black homeownership are deeply entrenched. From discriminatory appraisal practices that undervalue properties owned by Black families to a glaring lack of accessible financing options—these systemic issues perpetuate inequality. Locally, despite a strong community presence, Black families in Pierce County are often the hardest hit by these disparities.

To combat these inequities, Tacoma Pierce County's Affordable Housing Consortium partners with organizations like the Black Home Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, and the Pierce County Community Land Trust. These partnerships focus on:

  • Advocacy to promote access and funding for Black first-time homebuyers.

  • Providing down payment assistance to alleviate initial financial hurdles.

  • Offering financial literacy education to empower prospective Black homeowners.

  • Establishing community land trusts to ensure long-term affordability and community ownership.

  • Foreclosure prevention services to help families stay in their homes.

  • Minor in-home repairs for low-income families who struggle to maintain their homes.

Efforts in Pierce County are supported by various organizations committed to breaking down barriers for Black homeowners, including Tacoma-Pierce County Black Collective, Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity, Pierce County Community Land Trust, Rebuilding Together South Sound, Tacoma Urban League, and Black Home Initiative.

This Affordable Housing Week, let's pledge to dismantle the barriers to Black homeownership. Support local initiatives, participate in community forums, and advocate for policies that promote equitable homeownership. Every step brings us closer to a community where everyone has a fair chance at owning a home.

Resources and Further Reading:

Join Us:

To learn more about how you can get involved, visit the Affordable Housing Consortium and Affordable Housing Week’s official pages and partner with local organizations making a difference. Together, we can ensure that affordable housing is an opportunity for all, not just a privilege for some.

Thanks to US Bank for being the title sponsor of Pierce County Affordable Housing Week 2024. Your support is invaluable to our community.


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