Last month, Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR) joined the Black Home Initiative network (BHI) to promote homeownership among low- and moderate-income Black households. The network’s primary goal is to help 1,500 Black individuals achieve homeownership within the next five years.
“Realtors know the racial homeownership gap in King County, like many regions around the country, is unacceptably large,” SKCR President Sharon O’Mahony said in a press release. “We are already working to raise awareness of disparities and help Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC) take advantage of resources for first-time homebuyers. By collaborating with BHI, we hope to advance efforts to reduce some of the barriers people of color have encountered.”
The Black Home Initiative Network was created in part by The Coalition for More Housing Choices, of which SKCR is also a member. BHI’s advocacy plan for the Puget Sound Region includes community outreach and pre- and post-purchase counseling, as well as pushing for systemic changes like lending reform, housing supply increases and policy changes that support consumers. The network also plans to implement programs that help current BIPOC homeowners build wealth and maintain homeownership, like foreclosure prevention services and early intervention in the form of repairs and grants.
The organization’s overarching mission is to right the wrongs of past discriminatory practices that have limited Black homeownership. SKCR leadership particularly supports BHI’s strategy of incentivizing sellers who accept offers from buyers using down payment assistance, possibly in the form of tax exemptions.