Insights

2021: Protecting & Advancing Equitable Homeownership

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The Chicago Community Trust is committed to closing the Chicago region’s racial and ethnic wealth gap and increasing the share of economic prosperity for Black and Latinx individuals, households, and communities. The Trust believes that only by addressing our significant wealth and economic disparities can we achieve our vision of a thriving, equitable, and connected region. Unfortunately, we are far from our desired state.

In Chicago, even before the pandemic, over 60 percent of Black households and 50 percent of Latinx households are liquid asset poor, meaning they could not go three months without income before falling below the poverty line. For decades, realities such as redlining, predatory lending, inequitable property taxes, lack of quality affordable homes, and bias integrated throughout the appraisal system have persistently kept people of color locked out of the opportunity to gain equity through homeownership[1]. At 41.8 percent, the region’s Black homeownership rate is the lowest of all racial groups, compared to 71.9 percent for white households–the most significant gap in the nation.

Advancing efforts to increase homeownership is a core component of the Trust’s Growing Household Wealth strategy because we have found that homeownership really matters as a wealth-building tool for Black and Latinx households. Evidence demonstrates that for households of color, owning a home is the single largest source of household wealth in the Chicago region, anchoring families to long-term economic security.

White households have a more diverse portfolio of assets, which helps them weather financial setbacks and economic downturns. Urban Institute’s research finds that Black and Latinx households’ housing equity share of net worth is 56.6 percent and 66.5 percent, respectively, about 15 percent more than for whites.

Touted as the “American Dream,” homeownership has not only been out of reach for much of the Black and Latinx population, it has also become a potential nightmare if not supported with the resources needed to promote sustainability. It is challenging to sustain the asset as this population is most vulnerable to fluctuations of the housing market and victim to predatory practices at work within our economy.

It is estimated that if Black and Latinx households were as likely as white households to own homes, median Black household wealth would grow more than $32,000, and Latinx household wealth would grow more than $29,000.

As an institution committed to seeing every Chicagoan thrive economically, in 2020, the Trust launched its Protecting & Advancing Equitable Homeownership initiative. In year one, the purpose of the grant-making opportunity was generally to support housing and policy organizations focused on pre and post-homeownership counseling. This year, the Trust made grants in four strategic areas: Financing, Ownership Models, Policy, and Affordable Housing.

Over the next year, all of the organizations that received grants through the homeownership initiative will convene to examine homeownership work in Chicago and nationwide, share best practices on the four strategic areas, and develop recommendations for philanthropic investments.

The Trust is proud to provide support to the following organizations committed to Protecting and Advancing Equitable Homeownership:

The Resurrection Project
The Resurrection Project’s Full Circle Homes will provide prospective homeowners with the tools and support they need to qualify, find, and responsibly buy a home, while offering post-purchase services to ensure owners remain in their homes for the long term. Full Circle Homes leverages the Resurrection Project’s decades of homebuyer preparation experience with lending and realty services.
2021 Grant: $70,000

Resident Association Greater Englewood (R.A.G.E)
R.A.G.E. will expand its Buy the Block Englewood Housing Program, a campaign it launched in 2018 to target renters to become first-time homebuyers. The goal is to engage and educate residents about homeowner opportunities in Englewood and increase the number of owner-occupied homes in the community.
2021 Grant: $75,000

Far South Community Development Corporation
Far South CDC will administer Project Housing and Equity Assistance Pilot Program (HEAPP). Project HEAPP is a holistic and comprehensive strategy to address the housing and equity crisis that has persisted on Chicago’s Far South Side and south suburban Cook County for many decades. HEAPP will provide a system of support for renters to achieve homeownership and increase lending opportunities for existing homeowners and residents transitioning from Morgan Park Commons (a nearby mixed-use housing project Far South is developing) to single-family ownership.
2021 Grant:  $80,000

Chicago Rehab’s Center for Shared Ownership
With partner Chicago Community Loan Fund, Chicago Rehab Network started the Center for Shared Ownership to provide leadership for the preservation and creation of shared ownership models (cooperatives, affordable condos/townhomes). The Center for Shared Ownership will hire a full-time staff member to provide technical assistance to unit owners to strengthen financial stability and align the model with the community’s overall goals.
2021 Grant:  $80,000

Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA)
LUCHA will implement its HUD-approved housing counseling programs, which feature pre and post-purchase counseling, financial education, foreclosure prevention, and legal and financial representation during closing for first-time low-to-moderate income homebuyers of color. In addition, LUCHA will advance policies to preserve and create affordable housing alongside implementing solutions to preserve one-to-four-unit buildings via shared equity.
2020 Grant:  $80,000, 2021 Grant: $70,000

Lawndale Christian Development Corporation (LCDC)
LCDC will work to address affordable housing needs in North Lawndale by providing new construction, manufactured housing, rehabilitation services for owners, and homeownership counseling to ensure Black working families can access safe and affordable financing. LCDC is positioned to expand the production of unique affordable housing models.
2020 Grant: $45,000, 2021 Grant: $60,000

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC)
BPNC’s Financial Services department will sustain and grow pre-purchase, financial capability, and foreclosure-prevention counseling, in addition to providing case management services to low-income Latinx families. Brighton Park is experiencing a rise in unemployment and a decrease in homeownership. To reverse this trend, BPNC strives to provide one-on-one counseling to families and host workshops throughout the year.
2020 Grant: $65,000, 2021 Grant: $70,000

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago (NHS)
NHS’s comprehensive housing counseling services provide homeowners of color with pre and post-purchase counseling, financial education, foreclosure prevention, and access to capital. NHS will support neighborhoods, particularly communities of color, to attain more significant development, investment, financial equity, and housing security that will breathe vibrancy and stability to low-to-moderate-income areas across the Chicago region.
2020 Grant: $80,000, 2021 Grant: $70,000

Northwest Side Housing Center
Northwest Side Housing Center will strengthen its holistic financial wealth program by deepening the organization’s cultural competence. The program focuses on building household wealth by improving the community’s economic well-being through an anti-racist, intergenerational, and community-led lens. Resources will enable Northwest Side Housing Center to serve more than 5,000 families annually by providing a range of services that better equip existing and prospective homeowners of color in the community.
2020 Grant: $75,000, 2021 Grant: $65,000

Spanish Coalition for Housing
Spanish Coalition for Housing will provide bilingual (English and Spanish) HUD-certified housing counseling to support affordable and sustainable homeownership for Black and Latinx low-to-moderate-income households across Chicago and Cook County through its Comprehensive Housing Counseling Program. The program includes homebuyer education/pre-purchase counseling and post-purchase/foreclosure prevention counseling for existing and new homeowners and owner-occupied two to four-unit small landlords.
2020 Grant: $80,000, 2021 Grant: $80,000

DePaul University Institute for Housing Services
DePaul’s Institute for Housing Services aims to develop applied research products and deliver technical assistance in support of policies and programs that advance and protect equitable homeownership. The Institute will directly engage housing and community development stakeholders to understand critical questions, policy applications and data needs, develop new or update data indicators to respond best to needs, and provide technical assistance to stakeholders using this information in their work.
2020 Grant: $80,000, 2021 Grant: $70,000

Housing Action Illinois (HAI)
HAI will develop and advocate for new public policies at the federal, state, and local levels that benefit homeowners of color and increase homebuyers’ access to safe and affordable financing property values. HAI is positioned to implement policy support for community-based housing organizations that will mobilize systemic preservation strategies.
2020 Grant: $80,000, 2021 Grant: $70,000

[1]  Perry, Andre M., and David Harshbarger. “America’s Formerly Redlined Neighborhoods Have Changed, and so Must Solutions to Rectify Them.” Brookings. Brookings, October 14, 2019. https://www.brookings.edu/research/americas-formerly-redlines-areas-changed-so-must-solutions/.