Windermere Real Estate has partnered with community development financial institution HomeSight on a new loan product to offer African-American homebuyers in Washington more purchasing power.
“The Sam Smith ‘Hi Neighbor’ Homeownership Fund is designed to help low- to moderate-income homebuyers who have historically been underserved by traditional lenders,” said Samantha Enos, Windermere’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion.
HomeSight identifies buyers who qualify for the fund and grants up to $12,000 toward home purchase costs.
The Black homeownership rate in Seattle is 25.8%, compared to 50.9% for Whites. In King County, the median income for Black households is $48,000, and in White households it’s $94,500.
The Sam Smith fund is supported by donations from the Windermere Foundation, U.S. Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase. It is named for former Washington state legislator Sam Smith, who championed the state’s 1967 open housing law barring discrimination based on race and religion.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to have the Sam Smith name used to pursue equity in home purchases,” Carl Smith, son of Sam Smith, said in a news release.
Since November, Windermere has donated more than $80,000 to the fund through contributions from its agents, offices and company leadership.