Al McFarlane

Al McFarlane

Owning one’s own home has long been a key component of the so-called “American Dream.”

It’s seen as a sign of achievement. It yields financial, health and academic benefits. And it provides a stable base from which families can more successfully go about their day-to-day lives. In Minnesota and throughout the country, Black households have historically faced pervasive, systemic barriers to homeownership – barriers such as racial covenants, redlining, violent community response and other discriminatory practices. Even after laws were passed to officially change this, purchase options for Black households were severely limited via racist policies that restricted everything from the neighborhoods Blacks could live, to the financing they could access.

While the fight to dismantle such systemic racism has just begun, even succeeding in this endeavor would not be enough to right past wrongs. It’s imperative to also provide proactive assistance to Black households as they work to gain ground. In the homeownership space, Minnesota’s Homeownership Opportunity Alliance is taking a small step toward doing just that. The Alliance, convened by the nonprofit Minnesota Homeownership Center and Minnesota Housing, is comprised of lenders, real estate professionals, government agencies and community-based nonprofit organizations all working together to reduce Minnesota’s shameful and nearly largest-in-the-nation homeownership gap. Among Minnesota’s white households, 77 percent own their own home. For Black households in Minnesota, this figure is just 24 percent.

On Nov. 9, Insight News editor Al McFarlane, will partner with the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance to present “Opening Doors: A Community Empowerment Conversation.” At this panel discussion, attendees will hear from Twin Cities residents who have successfully achieved sustainable homeownership, as well as bankers, real estate professionals and nonprofit homeownership advisors who will dispel the myths around down payments, credit scores and income. The event is aimed at those wishing to learn more about the possibility of homeownership, as well as those willing to take the message that homeownership is possible to their networks and communities.

Prospective homebuyer attendees also will be able to meet one-on-one with nonprofit homeownership advisors to explore getting started on their own journey to successful and sustainable homeownership.

Opening Doors takes place at NorthPoint Conference Center, 1256 Penn Ave. N., Minneapolis, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event is free, however registration is requested at http://bit.ly/getreadybeready

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