The Homeownership Opportunity Alliance

Bill Gray February 8, 2019

Data indicate there are 64,000 existing households of color living in Minnesota today that could successfully become homeowners if they wished to.

Hello, and welcome to February! This month on our blog, we’ll be looking at the stark homeownership gap between white households and households of color.

Minnesota’s homeownership gap is the second-worst such gap in the nation. The nonprofit Minnesota Homeownership Center was founded in 1993 in part to help reduce this gap, and over the past 25 years we’ve helped tens-of-thousands of households of color to navigate successful and sustainable homeownership. But the gap continues to stubbornly hover at around 35 percent, and thus a hugely disproportionate number of households of color are excluded from the wealth-building and stability-friendly benefits of owning their own homes. Clearly, more needs to be done.

Several years ago, the Center convened a group of like-minded organizations to analyze the data behind the gap and explore ways in which to cooperatively and positively impact it. Earlier this year, this collaboration launched its first public outreach campaign under the banner of the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance. Partners now include organizations across industry spectrums – from the City of Minneapolis and the Urban League to the Minnesota Association of Realtors and Wells Fargo. A full list of partners, along with an overview of the effort and the data we analyzed, is accessible here.

The Alliance’s ‘Get Ready – Be Ready!’ campaign is focusing on answers to the four main ‘myths’ that often keep people from considering the transition from renting to owning – myths uncovered via focus groups, community dinners and partner feedback:

  • I need to make a 20 percent down payment
  • My credit isn’t good enough
  • I don’t make enough money
  • I don’t have anyone to help me figure the process out

Data indicate there are 64,000 existing households of color living in Minnesota today that could successfully become homeowners if they wished to. We believe these myths play a big role in discouraging people from trying, and our outreach campaign aims to discredit these myths and share the facts:

  • Fact: Down payments can often be as low as 3.5 percent
  • Fact: Poor credit scores can be repaired.
  • Fact: Steady income is important, but depending on where you want to live, homeownership may actually be more affordable than paying rent.
  • Fact: One-on-one advisory assistance from nonprofit homeownership advisors is available free-of-charge from a variety or community-based organizations.

The bottom line is that successful and sustainable homeownership is more accessible than many people believe.

To learn more about the Homeownership Opportunity Alliance, click here.

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