PathStone to present event on devaluation of Black-owned homes

The PathStone Foundation will host its Provok!ng Thought event this year in a free, virtual format on Nov. 9 on the topic of “The American Dream and the Devaluation of Black Homes.”

The keynote address will be made by Andre Perry, senior fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, a scholar in residence at American University and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. His research focuses on race and structural inequity, education and economic inclusion. Perry is a regular contributor to MSNBC, and has been published by the New York Times, the Nation, Washington Post and more.

The event’s discussion will examine the impact of racial bias on homeownership opportunities. Perry’s research has identified Rochester as one of the most devalued cities for Black homeownership with an average loss of 65 percent, more than $53,000 in absolute price difference. Perry’s latest book is titled “Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities.”

Provok!ng Thought will feature a panel discussion moderated by Tiffany Manuel, president and CEO of TheCaseMade. Panelists include Robin Wilt, co-chair of the Greater Rochester Association of Realtors Black Caucus; Aqua Porter, executive director at Rochester Monroe
Anti-Poverty Initiative; Daniel Randall, vice president and community investment officer, Federal Home Loan Bank; and Arline Santiago, senior vice president and general counsel, ESL Federal Credit Union, and co-chair of the Commission on Racial and Structural Equity (RASE).

This is the nonprofit organization’s fifth Thought Leader event, which attracts more than 500 people. In 2018, the event featured Matthew Desmond, the author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. The following year, Bernice King presented a very strong critique and vision of her life’s work to bring out the best in all of us and follow in the footsteps of her father. Also in 2019, Richard Rothstein presented a critique of his book “The Color of Law.” Last year, the group held a virtual bankers’ panel and a keynote address by Rev. Marvin McMickle. The event addressed the question of what is required for us to become a beloved community and eradicate the structural racism that plagues our community.

To register for the event, visit

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Funds available to expand homeownership in Finger Lakes

Nearly $2 million has been set aside by the state Homes and Community Renewal to expand homeownership in the Finger Lakes.

house-1407562_1920Some 56 Finger Lakes households will benefit from the $1.7 million that is being awarded to area agencies. The funding is part of $28 million awarded to nonprofit organizations and municipalities that will support 929 households statewide in rehabilitating and improving existing homes, increasing their access to affordable homes and provide down payment assistance to help families achieve the dream of homeownership, officials said.

Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said safe, affordable homeownership is essential to keeping the Finger Lakes’ economy moving forward.

“By helping families make upgrades and repairs to their homes, we are enhancing neighborhoods and building safer communities, which is central to Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo’s historic commitment to expanding access to affordable homes across New York State,” Visnauskas said in a statement.

Awards for the Finger Lakes region include:

• Livingston County—$500,000 to the Village of Nunda to support rehabilitation activities for 15 homeowners in Livingston County through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program; and $500,000 to the Town of Springwater to support rehabilitation activities for 16 homeowners in Livingston County through the CDBG program.
• Genesee, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans and Wayne counties—$250,000 to Rural Housing Opportunities Corp. to support rehabilitation activities for 10 homeowners in the five counties through the HOME Local Program.
• Ontario, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties—$450,000 to Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation Inc. to support rehabilitation activities for 15 homeowners in the four counties.

The CDBG program provides financial assistance to eligible cities, towns and villages with populations under 50,000 and counties with an area population under 200,000, in order to develop viable communities by providing decent, affordable housing and suitable living environments, as well as expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income.

The HOME Local Program funds a variety of activities through partnerships with counties, towns, private developers and nonprofit housing organizations. The program provides funds to acquire, rehabilitate or construct housing or to provide assistance to low-income homebuyers and renters.

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Rochester homeownership disparity among the highest nationwide

house-for-saleBlack homeownership has been on a downward path for a number of years, particularly among those aged 45 to 64, but no other racial group has seen as dramatic a drop in homeownership as African Americans since 2001. And in Rochester, where homeownership disparity is among the highest nationwide, black homeownership is just 32.5 percent.

Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that carries out economic and social policy research, recently mapped the black homeownership gap. The organization found that the drop in black homeownership has not been uniform, with some regions experiencing wider gaps than others between black and white homeownership rates.

Of the 100 cities mapped, the widest gaps were in Minneapolis, Minn., Albany and Buffalo, Salisbury, Md., and Bridgeport Conn. The homeownership gap—that is, the difference between the percentage of white residents who own a home and the percentage of African American residents who own a home—is 50 percent in Minneapolis, followed closely by Albany at 48.8 percent and Buffalo at 44.5 percent.

In Rochester, the white homeownership rate is 73.7 percent, while the black homeownership rate is 32.5 percent, leaving a gap of 41.2 percent. The Urban Institute noted that black homeownership rates nationwide “are now at levels similar to those before the passage of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.”

Since 2005, overall homeownership rates declined from 68.8 percent to 62.7 percent in 2015, according to the American Housing Survey. Among African Americans, homeownership rates fell from 48.5 percent to 42.2 percent in 2015, while among whites, the homeownership rate dropped from 75.8 percent to 70.8 percent in the same time frame.

In a separate discussion, the Urban Institute noted that “the plunging homeownership rate for black families is particularly concerning.” The organization suggested that policymakers recognize “that this declining rate is the result of failings that go beyond the mortgage market.”

The Urban Institute notes that owning a home can increase a family’s financial security, “but black people and other minorities significantly lag behind white people in homeownership rates, a major factor contributing to the racial wealth gap.”

Of concern, the Urban Institute noted, was how the declining homeownership rate among blacks and the high homeownership gap will affect retirement prospects for black Americans and their ability to pass wealth to the next generation.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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Report: Rochester has second-largest gap in homeownership across races

Rochester has the second-highest gap in homeownership rates across races in the country, a new report shows.

When measuring homeownership rates in the 50 largest metro areas nationwide, Apartment List found that in Rochester 70.1 percent of white households own their homes, compared with 21.2 percent for black households, 35.6 percent for Hispanic households and 48 percent for Asian households.

Rochester’s 37.1 percent average gap in homeownership rates across races was second behind Buffalo, where the gap is 40.5 percent. In Buffalo, the white homeownership rate is 67.8 percent, while the average homeownership rate across minority races is just 27.3 percent, according to the report.

Utilizing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Apartment List also found that Rochester is the third least diverse metro of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.

On a national level, the report found that 64.4 percent of white households are homeowners, compared with 54 percent of Asian households, 41.1 percent of Hispanic households and 32.7 percent of black households.

The data shows that gaps in homeownership rates exist regardless of educational attainment or income. Apartment List found that gaps exist in all of the nation’s largest metros, but they tend to be worst in Midwestern and Rust Belt metros with low diversity. The report also noted that homeownership gaps are generally worst for black and Hispanic households.

Apartment List noted that nationwide, as the renter population continues to grow, an outsized share of renter households are occupied by minorities. Homeownership is crucial to residential stability and wealth creation, the authors wrote. Yet, every minority race is at a double digit disadvantage in achieving homeownership when compared to white households.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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