First recipient of the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program settles into his new home
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Here in San Diego, the cost of homes has risen dramatically over the past few years, but it hasn't climbed equally. Now there's a new grant program that aims to help close the racial wealth gap and KPBS race and equity reporter. Christina Kim caught up with the first recipient,
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Careful on the step. The first one, anyways,
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Sean Cooke has big plans for his newly purchased two bedroom, two bathroom condo in spring valley
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In the middle of renovating everything. So the whole kitchen is going to get completely moved and destroyed. So the kitchen is actually going to come all the way out against this whole yellow wall, which is why it's not paying
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The 20 three-year-old is confident in his vision for his new home. Right now, his room is one of the few spots he's fully furnished and decorated with some of his favorite anime art, but he wants a more modern kitchen. And he's working with his dad to remove the carpet and replace it with new flooring
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Probably once a week, if not once every other week, definitely going to home Depot. As he said, now, it's something that obviously beforehand I wasn't thinking about, but happens. I mean, again, I'm in the process of renovating so consistent. When if, if I'm not going to home Depot, I'm ordering things on Amazon
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Cook as an SDSU college student and Navy reservist. In addition to working full time as a calibration technician. Now that he's also a homeowner, it puts him among a very small group of black San Diegans only around a quarter of all black people in San Diego city own a home. Meanwhile, more than half of all white and Asian San Diegans are homeowners. And the home ownership rate for black people is even lower in places near spring valley, like Lamesa and alcohol that's according to a newly released study by the urban Institute, a nonprofit research organization focused on economic policies.
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So the total amount of housing wealth held by white households is $129 billion for black homeowners. It's uh, less than 5 billion.
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Michael Neill was the lead researcher on the urban Institute study. He says, San Diego doesn't just have a racial gap in homeownership, but in home values as well,
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Black homeowners on average, their home value is $610,000. About a third, less than the average value of a white known health
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As historic housing and employment discrimination. Coupled with long-standing wage gaps and rising housing costs are at the heart of these persisting inequities. It's why a group of nonprofits and San Diego county supervisor Nathan Fletcher's office launched the San Diego black home buyers program. Last August, the goal to expand more economic opportunities for black San Diegans like cook, who was the first recipient of the program. And as supervisor Nathan Fletcher first set at the launch to try and level the playing field, because
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I have such an obligation to ensure access to the American dream. There is no guarantee of equality of outcome, but there is supposed to be equality of access. Now
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That the program is set up, it needs to expand and help. More families says we got to the Flores. He's the executive director of LISC, the organization that administers the programs funds
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We've created the program we've created the vehicle, got mortgages attached to it. Now we just need to, uh, to be able to provide
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More cases that can happen without too big of an investment.
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And the great thing is, so for a million dollars, you can get 25 families home ownership opportunities, which is obviously going to change their lives indefinitely.
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D this is like the living room area, dining room,
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And that's something that's already happening for cook. He used the nearly $50,000 grant to pay his closing costs. Now he's using the money. He saved to add value and equity back into his home. He hopes his condo will jumpstart his ability to build wealth and take care of the generations to come.
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Oh, I know is I wanted to give my children a better childhood. Not that mine was bad. Um, but in order for me to do that, one of the things I want to be able to do is never tell my children no, because of money ever. Like if I tell them no it's going to be because I said, no, not because, oh, my account's telling me no. You know,
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Now he's enjoying his home scenic views of pink sunsets, and he's already planning on having his siblings visit and stay with him. Something that wasn't possible until just last month. Could he see now Kim KPBS news.
Tyshawn Cook has big plans for his newly purchased two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in Spring Valley.
“I am in the middle of renovating everything so the whole kitchen is going to get moved and destroyed,” said Cook, as he walked around his new living room.
The 23-year-old is confident in his vision for his new condo. He wants a more modern kitchen and he’s working with his dad to remove the carpet and replace it with new flooring.
As an SDSU college student, NAVY reservist, and full-time calibration technician, Cook’s days have long been packed with activities. Now that he’s also a homeowner, he said his daily life has gotten even busier.
“Probably once a week if not once every other week, I am definitely going to Home Depot,” he said. “Now that’s something, honestly, I wasn’t thinking about before.”
Cook was able to buy his condo using the nearly $50,000 grant he received as the first recipient of the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program.
Launched last August with funding and support from the San Diego Foundation Black Community Investment Fund, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s office, Union Bank, Urban League and LISC, the program aims to help close the region’s staggering racial homeownership gap.
According to a new data tool released by the Urban Institute, only 26.5% percent of Black San Diegans are homeowners, compared to over 50% of white and Asian San Diegans.
The rate of homeownership is even lower for Black people living in East County, such as La Mesa (18.2%) and El Cajon (6.7%).
“The total amount of housing wealth held by white households is $129 billion [in San Diego],” said Michael Neal, the lead researcher of the Urban Institute study. “For black homeowners, it's less than $5 billion.”
In other words, the racial homeownership gap is continuing to widen the racial wealth gap by the billions. But Neal said this gap isn’t just about the number of Black households who own their home, but also about the values of their homes.
“Black homeowners on average, their home value is $610,000, [which is] about a third less than the average value of a white-owned home,” he said.
Neal said historic housing and employment discrimination coupled with longstanding wage gaps and rising housing costs are at the heart of these persisting inequities.
Although he acknowledged there’s no silver bullet solution, he believes programs like the San Diego Black Home Buyers Program provide a good first step, especially for young buyers like Cook.
These homes will help build generational wealth, said Pamela Gray Payton, the San Diego Foundation’s chief impact and partnerships officer, in a written statement to KPBS.
“Speaking from personal experience, I know that these families will build equity in their first homes that will move them into larger homes as their families grow, invest in their children’s college education and be able to gift that wealth in the future,” she said.
In order to be eligible for the program, an applicant must be Black or African American, a current resident of San Diego County, a first-time homebuyer, and a part of a household that earns less than 120% of the area median income.
Selected applicants like Cook then receive housing counseling and must be approved by the program’s current banking partner, Union Bank, before making an offer and purchasing a home.
The program has already helped seven families in San Diego County, according to Ricardo Flores, the executive director of LISC San Diego, the organization that administers the program’s funds. Now that the program is set up, he wants to see it expand and help more families
“We've created the program, we’ve created the vehicle, we've got mortgages attached to it, so now we just need to get together to provide more,” he said. “And the great thing is that for a million dollars, you can get 25 families homeownership opportunities, which is obviously going to change their lives indefinitely.”
Cook is already feeling the benefits of the program. He used the grant money to pay his closing costs, which means he now has the funds to renovate and add equity back into this new condo.
“All I know is that I want to give my children a better childhood,” he said. “Not that mine was bad, but in order to do that, one of the things I never want to do is tell my kids no because of money… never.”
He hopes his condo will jumpstart his ability to build wealth and take care of the generations to come. For now, he’s enjoying his condo’s scenic views of pink sunsets and he’s already planning on having his siblings visit and stay with him.