* Wealth Opportunities Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) grant will help approximately 5,000 homebuyers of color
SAN DIEGO -- An expanded effort to help more people of color in the San Diego region become homeowners is launching today with the support of a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The grant was awarded to the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), part of the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative.
Homeownership rates for many households of color are significantly lower than other racial groups. For example, an SDHC-commissioned Urban Institute study of City of San Diego households identified homeownership rates of 29.1% among Black households and 35.2% among Latino households, compared with 54.8% among white households.
"I'm incredibly grateful to Wells Fargo for dedicating funding so that more San Diego families have the opportunity to purchase a home," said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. "Public-private partnerships like these help us address the root causes of inequity. This funding will change the lives of 5,000 families of color in our community, helping put homeownership within reach at a time when it's more crucial than ever.
The San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force (RTF) will lead the implementation of the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative's strategies throughout the San Diego region.
"Systemic inequities and racist historical practices have prevented families of color from achieving their homeownership and wealth-building goals for too long," said Council President pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe, who introduced a proclamation that the City Council approved to declare September 21 "Homeowner Equity Day" in the City of San Diego. "I'm thrilled that the Wells Fargo WORTH grant gives San Diego an opportunity to decrease the equity gap and increase access to homeownership for new homebuyers of color."
"I am thrilled that the San Diego City/County Reinvestment Task Force will be receiving the Wells Fargo WORTH grant," shared County of San Diego Supervisor Joel Anderson, who serves as a co-chair for the RTF. "This opportunity will empower the RTF to significantly support homeownership and generational wealth building in low-income communities of San Diego County."
SDHC provides staff support for RTF and administers first-time homebuyer programs for the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, and the cities of Chula Vista and El Cajon.
"The WORTH grant gives us a historic opportunity to put more people of color countywide on a path to the pride of homeownership, achievement of financial security, and creation of a legacy they can pass to their children," SDHC Chair of the Board Eugene "Mitch" Mitchell said. "The leadership of City Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and County Supervisor Joel Anderson and the collaboration among many organizations united in this effort have made this opportunity possible."
The grant to SDHC comes from Wells Fargo's Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. San Diego is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant. SDHC and RTF are among the organizations in the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative, which will work to help create an estimated 5,000 new homeowners of color in San Diego County by the end of 2025.
"As a company, we're committed to putting homeownership within reach for more families of color," said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. "We recognize the need for deliberate intervention from the public and private sectors to address the homeownership equity gap. We look forward to working with the collaborative to accelerate actions and foster greater homeownership, wealth, and opportunity in San Diego."
Services and resources for homebuyers of color are expected to be developed, such as credit counseling, down payment assistance, and homeownership navigators. These will expand on the resources that are currently available to help more first-time and first-generation homebuyers. A list of current resources that are available to potential homebuyers, which will be updated, is available on SDHC's website at www.sdhc.org/homebuyerequity.
According to the Urban Institute study that SDHC commissioned, Latino households represented 19.1% of all households in San Diego, but only 13.6% of all homeowner households. Black households accounted for 6.1% of all San Diego households, but only 3.6% of all homeowner households in the City of San Diego.
Nationwide, the Urban Institute estimates that without action, over the next 20 years, Black homeownership will continue to decline, and Hispanic homeownership will experience only slight increases. Gaps in homeownership rates contribute to differences in wealth among households. According to a Federal Reserve bulletin based on the Survey of Consumer Finances, the median net worth for a white family, which is $188,200, was approximately five times higher than for a Hispanic family, which is $36,100, and nearly eight times higher than for a Black family, which is $24,100. According to Urban Institute, home equity represents approximately 60% of total net worth for Black homeowners, compared with 43% for white homeowners. Homeownership provides households an asset that grows in value, can help pay educational expenses, may be used by family members to buy their own homes, or provides an inheritance for the next generation.
Wells Fargo is working to increase racial equity in homeownership. Nationally, WORTH aims to help create 40,000 new homeowners of color by the end of 2025. Wells Fargo's $40 million Growing Diverse Housing Developers program is also working to expand housing inventory in communities of color, among other initiatives. The company also recently launched a Special Purpose Credit Program to help eligible minority homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Wells Fargo lower their interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payments.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is a leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment, and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 41 on Fortune's 2022 rankings of America's largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy.
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