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Wells Fargo grant will help nonprofits in Philadelphia create 5,000 new black and brown homeowners

LaTanya Whitehead tried to buy her first home a few years ago. But she couldn’t afford it, partly because she didn’t have enough cash, even though she had saved up.

“I had no idea how much it would cost with closing costs and everything,” said Whitehead, who has worked since she was 14 and is a single mother to a 14-year-old daughter and a son. 22 year old son. . She thought, “Oh my God, if I use all my money, I’m going to use up my savings, and that’s all I have.”

But in August, she was able to buy a townhouse in Port Richmond for herself and her daughter, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Philadelphia Home Buyers Program and $2,000 from the Urban League of Philadelphia. Half of Urban League’s donation comes from a new “Philly 5 by 25” initiative to help 5,000 Philadelphia households of color buy homes by 2025, a plan that includes distributing $3 million to 3,000 households for down payment and assistance with closing costs.

READ MORE: Philly is bringing back its popular first-time homebuyer grant program

“To have this supplement [$1,000] to help me achieve my dream of home ownership is invaluable,” said Whitehead, 44, a program manager at a Philadelphia nonprofit who is African American. And she didn’t have to use her savings.

In addition to direct financial assistance, the “Philly 5 by 25” initiative will help homebuyers and homeowners through efforts to tackle tangled titles, help diversify the real estate and home appraisals, supporting housing counsellors, funding affordable housing development and helping people stay in their homes. A collaboration of Philadelphia community groups, led by the nonprofit Philadelphia Urban League for Civil Rights and Social Services, is using a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Philadelphia is one of eight cities Wells Fargo has chosen for funding as part of its campaign to create 40,000 homeowners of color by 2025 in places with significant racial disparities in homeownership rates. Wells Fargo officials said the Philadelphia collaboration was notable for the strength of its partnership and planned strategies, the organizations track record of working with Black and Latino residents, and community buy-in.

READ MORE: Education and transparency can help eliminate racial bias in home appraisals, says Philly task force

According to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia last year, the gap in homeownership rates between black and white Philadelphians in 2019 was slightly wider than it was three years ago. decades. Owning property is how most American households build generational wealth. But for generations, black and brown households have faced obstacles to buying homes.

In 2017, Philadelphia sued Wells Fargo, accusing the bank of discriminating against black and Latino homebuyers by steering them toward more expensive and riskier mortgages than loans offered to white borrowers. Wells Fargo disputed the city’s claims and did not admit liability, but as part of a 2019 settlement agreement, the bank agreed to pay Philadelphia $10 million to fund city programs that support home ownership for low- and middle-income residents.

Stephen Briggs, vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo in Pennsylvania and Delaware, said the bank’s latest initiative, which is not part of the settlement, “builds on ongoing efforts to increase equity race in the accession to the property”.

READ MORE: Homeownership isn’t easier for black people in Philadelphia than it was 30 years ago

This goal is embedded in the mission of the Urban League of Philadelphia, which is working on the “Philly 5 by 25” campaign with the Hispanic Association of Entrepreneurs and Businesses (HACE), Congreso De Latinos Unidos, New Kensington Community Development Corp. , and the Urban Affairs Coalition.

“It’s no secret that black and brown families are falling behind and missing out on opportunities,” said Abraham Reyes Pardo, director of housing at the Urban League of Philadelphia. For example, he said, many of those households missed out on record mortgage interest rates at the start of the pandemic.

The goal of the “Philly 5 by 25” collaboration, said Reyes Pardo, is to ensure that underresourced and historically excluded populations can access the resources and services they need.

To learn more about how aspiring homebuyers can get help, call 215-985-3220 x203, email [email protected], or contact any organization in the collaborative.