Albuquerque program aims to increase Black homeownership

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- With high interest rates and a competitive housing market, it’s getting harder and harder to buy a home. Those struggles are even more prevalent for marginalized communities that are often left out of the conversation.

“If we do nothing between now and 2040, we are only going to add 2,280 which is only like 100 or so a year compared to 60,000 new homeowners in 2040 for the Hispanic community,” said Nichole Rogers, the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Black Community Engagement liaison.

The City of Albuquerque wants to close that racial wealth gap, and increase Black ownership by 5% in 2023.

“There has been such a lack of Black homeownership we just need to get into the game,” said Ahdohny Routheni, a real estate broker in Albuquerque.

According to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, only 36% of the Black community ages 18-35 own homes.

Taking a deeper look at that data, out of the people who don’t own homes, only 13% are financially ready for homeownership.

“When I purchased my home five years ago, there was a racial covenant in my deed. My home was built it in the 1960s, we aren’t even talking about 100’s of years ago, it said they could not sell the home to me as a Black woman,” said Rogers.

The city is tackling the generational issue with a new national incentive called “Operation Accelerator.” The partnership will fund down payments and closing costs, credit repair classes, and connections to realtors in the Black community.

Routheni is one of only a handful of Black realtors in Albuquerque.

“How can you say you really want to address the Black homeownership gap if you don’t have a Black home inspector, Black lender we also need to circulate funds because when Black people circulate their economics, we all win,” he said.

Despite the lack of representation, he is optimistic that the city can reach their goal of adding 41 Black homeowners this year.

“Oh easily! Albuquerque or let’s say New Mexico should strive to be the first state that doesn’t have a Black homeownership gap,” said the Realtor.

Those interested in the program can contact the Office of Equity and Inclusion, they will select people to participate in the initiative in June.