Nonprofits in Philadelphia aim to increase the number of Black and brown homeowners

A $7.5 million grant from Wells Fargo for the "Philly 5 by 25" initiative will assist 5,000 families of color in becoming homeowners by 2025.

Nonprofits across Philadelphia want to help increase the number of Black and brown homeowners, and they’re distributing the necessary funds to make it happen.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the “Philly 5 by 25” initiative, which involves giving $3 million to 3,000 households for down payment and closing cost assistance, intends to help 5,000 families of color in the city to become homeowners by 2025.

The effort will assist home buyers and owners by providing direct financial aid, resolving tangled title issues, diversifying the real estate and home appraisal industries, and helping people maintain their homes, among other things.

Philly 5 by 25, Black homeownership
The “Philly 5 by 25” initiative aims to boost homeownership for Black and brown people in Philadelphia by the year 2025. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The initiative is made possible by a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The funding will be used by a coalition of community organizations led by the civil rights and social services organization Urban League of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is one of eight cities Wells Fargo decided to finance as part of its initiative to help 40,000 people of color become homeowners by the year 2025 in areas where there are significant racial inequalities in homeownership rates. 

The action follows a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo in 2017 by the city of Philadelphia, which alleged that the bank discriminated against Black and Latino homebuyers by directing them toward riskier and more expensive loans than those available to white consumers. Wells Fargo refuted the claims and refused to accept responsibility.

Still, as part of a 2019 settlement deal, the bank agreed to pay Philadelphia $10 million to support local initiatives encouraging low- and moderate-income citizens to purchase homes.

Stephen Briggs, vice president of community relations for the bank in Pennsylvania and Delaware, said Wells Fargo’s latest initiative, which is not part of the 2019 settlement, continues efforts to enhance racial equity in house ownership.

A few years ago, 44-year-old African American program manager LaTanya Whitehead attempted to purchase her first home. Even though she had been saving, she could not buy one due in part to a lack of available cash.

In August, she bought a rowhouse for herself and her daughter without using all of her savings, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Philadelphia’s first-time home buyer program and $2,000 from the Urban League.

“To have that additional money to help me achieve my dream of home ownership, it’s priceless,” said Whitehead, according to the Inquirer.

A representative of Wells Fargo said the city collaborative stood out due to the quality of its partnerships and planned tactics, the groups’ prior experience working with Black and Latino populations, and community support.

According to a survey released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia last year, the gap in property ownership rates between Black and White Philadelphians in 2019 was slightly wider than 30 years ago. The majority of American households build wealth across generations by owning real estate.

The “Philly 5 by 25” collaborative’s objective, according to Abraham Reyes Pardo, director of housing at the Urban League, is to ensure that historically underserved and excluded communities have access to the resources and services they require.

“It is no secret that Black and brown families are falling behind and missing out on opportunities,” said Reyes Pardo, the Inquirer reported.

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