DENVER — As future homeowners try to navigate Colorado’s competitive home buying market, Black homeownership continues to decrease throughout the United States.
According to MarketWatch.com, Black homeownership rates hit their lowest levels since the 1960s. But there are several local and national programs hoping to help more people of color become homeowners.
Cleo Lewis of Central Park Mortgage is teaming up with the Denver Mayor’s Office and Diversity Dynamics for the Open Hand Initiative.
Lewis said low credit scores can often to be a major roadblock to home ownership. But through the Open Hand Initiative, potential home buyers can receive grants to help them boost their credit scores immediately.
“We look at their credit, we send them away with a plan… and we can perform what’s called a rapid re-score. That can actually boost their credit score immediately,” Lewis said.
The grants range from $1,000 to $5,000.
Lewis said the initiative is hoping more organizations and businesses will participate in the program and help provide funding.
“We are looking for partners to be a part of this initiative and donate because we really need funds in order to make this happen,” Lewis said.
Benxel Jimerson, founder of Diversity Dynamics, an Open Hand Initiative partner, said a little goes a long way.
“This is just that small gap of being able to get people’s debts paid down so they can improve their credit and move into that home and all of the other possibilities occur from there,” Jimerson said.
Central Park Mortgage is encouraging potential partners and applicants to visit them at their booth at the Colorado Black Arts Festival the weekend of July 9th at City Park.
National Black Homeownership Program
The Black Homeownership Collaborative recently announced its 3 By 30 initiative. The goal of the program is to to create 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030.
3 by 30 has multiple steps to meet its goal that includes homeownership counseling, down payment assistance, housing production, credit and lending, and outreach.
April Denmon, owner of Denmon Realty, has helped hundreds of Black families become first-time homebuyers in the Denver metro area. She said she plans to help meet the initiatives goals.
“I would love to help as many potential homebuyers make their dream of owning a home come true because it is possible,” Denmon said.
“There are so many programs and loans for African American people who are looking to buy homes, and I think if we get those resources out and let buyers know what they have to do, it's not hard to buy," she said. "I don't have to have an 800 credit score, I don't need to put 20% down — more people would realize they can buy a home."
Denmon said one of the most important parts of homeownership is education and providing necessary resources.