Local Black Homebuyers Program Seeks Equity Across All Fronts


Photo by Kindel Media

In August 2021, the San Diego Foundation, LISC San Diego, and the Urban League of San Diego County announced a partnership to form the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program. The Program aims to close the racial gap and disparities that currently plague home-owning.

By Cori Zaragoza, Contributing Writer

According to a report by KPBS, nationwide only 42 percent of Black families own their homes, while 72 percent of white families own theirs. In San Diego specifically, fewer than 30 percent of Black families own homes compared to 61 percent of white families.

Many people rely on generational wealth to buy homes, something the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program says that a majority of Black people don’t have due to a lack of access and systematic oppression, such as restrictive laws put in place to keep people of color from owning homes.

The Homebuyers Program hopes to change that by improving the racial wealth gap in San Diego by specifically investing in generational wealth-building through Black home ownership. Applicants that are approved will receive up to $40,000 dollars in a grant to be used towards a down payment or closing cost on a home purchase.

The benefits to homeownership don’t stop at simply accumulating wealth; according to a report by Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization focused on housing, it also benefits an individual’s health. The report relies on study data that shows a direct relationship between living in poor housing and having more health problems, such as asthma, lead poisoning, and mental health issues. Housing that is rented is usually less well kept and more likely to be unsafe compared to owned homes.

Additionally, it was reported that low-income people who became homeowners felt higher self-esteem, higher life satisfaction, and felt more in control over their lives. Even those that ended up owning the same home they were renting benefitted from the same boost in self-esteem.

Furthermore, the Habitat for Humanity report also cited homeowners as being 2.5 percent more likely to be in good health over non-homeowners. In a nationwide survey of families who had recently bought a home, 74 percent said their overall health had improved since moving.

“I’ve been healthier since moving in here. I’ve wanted to go out and do more things. You feel better when you have something to work for, something that gives you a sense of even more self-worth,” said Mandy, a homeowner who was interviewed by Habitat for Humanity. She had been living in a basement apartment that had mold, which affected her two asthmatic sons, before being able to move into her own home with the help of a non-profit.

Testimonies from people like Mandy only prove how important it is to make home ownership in the Black community a priority in places like San Diego, which has such a high racial gap in homeowners. Through this new program, home ownership in San Diego will be more accessible to it’s Black residents and will benefit them in a myriad of ways.

The San Diego Black Homebuyers Program is ongoing and has no deadline, however, they are only accepting 35 more applicants for this fiscal year but will continue to accept applications until funds run out or until more funds are made available.

To be eligible for the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program applicants must be Black, first-time homebuyers that are currently residing in San Diego County, looking to buy a primary residence, and earn less than 120 percent of the San Diego Area median income. To view the median income for San Diego County, visit www.sandiegocounty.gov/sdhcd/rental-assistance/income-limits-ami/

Those interested in applying can contact the Urban League at Housing@sdul.org or 619-266-6256.

The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper coverage of local news in San Diego County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Enthnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.

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