Our mission is to close the racial homeownership gap and for that, you need a vision. Here is our Homeownership Justice Vison.
For far too long, Massachusetts has not done enough to confront an obvious and embarrassing problem. We have one of the largest racial homeownership gaps in the United States. We rank 46th in the nation (behind only North Dakota, New York, South Dakota and Rhode Island) with a homeownership rate of 35.4% for households of color according to the nonprofit Prosperity Now. White households have a 69.3% homeownership rate. We have the second lowest rate of homeownership for Latinx households. And to make matters worse, we are only behind Hawaii and California when it comes to median home price.
MAHA’s Board of Directors, members and staff have been working on creating affordable homeownership opportunities for three decades with a focus on closing the racial homeownership gap. Our signature achievement is the creation of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership’s ONE Mortgage Program (originally the SoftSecond Loan Program) after the 1989 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston study showed racial discrimination in Boston mortgage lending. That program has worked. With 23,000 homebuyers, over half of whom are households of color, ONE Mortgage is an example of a race-conscious program that has effectively reached lower-income, low-wealth homebuyers with a disproportionate impact on households of color.
But at the same time, the homeownership gap in Massachusetts hasn’t narrowed. We need to scale programs like ONE, add new race-conscious policies and programs, and be intentional about ALL housing policies if we are to move the needle on the racial wealth gap. Here is our challenge to corporate Massachusetts and government officials at the local, state and federal levels. We invite you to join us and to meet this movement now.
We have subtitled this report “A Plan for Good Trouble” to pay tribute to the late organizer, activist and Congressman John Lewis who said in a tweet in 2018, “Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
We agree and we will.