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The Black Homeownership Empowerment Initiative: Helping Black Southern Californians Build Wealth

Helping Black Southern Californians Build Wealth

At NeighborWorks Orange County, we’re committed to breaking down the strongest barriers to homeownership – including homeownership for Black Southern Californians. 

As an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) and HUD-approved agency, we invest our profits back into our local communities instead of shareholders’ pockets. One of our primary investments is in homeownership education and pre-purchase counseling with a focus on affordability and sustainability. 

As of 2022, about 75% of White Americans are homeowners – but only about 45% of Black Americans can say the same. That’s why we’ve launched the Black Homeownership Empowerment Initiative (BHEI) – to increase our efforts in education specifically for Black families in Orange County and its surrounding cities. 

The BHEI is a program designed to address disparities in homeownership rates among Black Americans. Through its implementation, NWOC aims to provide targeted support, homebuyer education, pre-purchase counseling, and community lending resources to overcome historical and systemic barriers.

We believe the path to Black homeownership doesn’t have to be plagued by barriers. Through education and advocacy workshops, we’re working to empower Black Americans and change the course of history. 

Never heard of BHEI? Here’s everything you need to know about our virtual workshops and webinars for aspiring Black homeowners.

Why Black Homeownership Matters 

In today’s current circumstances, Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be rejected for mortgage loans. Additionally, it’s estimated that less than half of Black Americans can afford to buy a home – versus 63% of White Americans. 

Historical discrimination in housing policies and practices, such as redlining, discriminatory lending, and unequal access to government-backed loans, has perpetuated systemic barriers to Black homeownership. These discriminatory practices have led to the creation of segregated neighborhoods, limited access to mortgage credit, and a persistent wealth gap. 

Additionally, factors like income inequality, job discrimination, and a lack of generational wealth further contribute to the challenges faced by Black individuals in achieving homeownership parity. 

Why does this matter? Because it indicates that not all Americans have had equal opportunities to build wealth through homeownership – and that’s something we need to change. 

Understanding the BHEI 

The Black Homeownership Empowerment Initiative seeks to address and mitigate these historical and systemic impediments. By offering Black individuals education on concepts like down payment assistance from an array of community lending partners, we can improve access to quality housing in affordable, sustainable ways. 

This program is made possible by support from a range of local sponsors, including…

  • Farmers and Merchants Bank
  • Luther Burbank Savings
  • Banc of California
  • Pacific Western Bank 

Our BHEI virtual workshops are scheduled once a month and are designed to provide an engaging platform for ongoing education and guidance. 

Who Does the BHEI Help? 

The BHEI is designed to help Black individuals and families who face barriers to homeownership. This includes those who have historically experienced discrimination in housing policies, lending practices, and systemic inequalities. 

Registrants will receive a free credit report (valued at $67) when a pre-purchase counseling session is scheduled within six months, which then allows them to attend a HUD-Approved Homebuyer Education Courses at no-cost. 

Additionally, the BHEI is not only for Black Americans looking to become homeowners. There are also opportunities for others to get involved and support Black homeownership initiatives through donations. 

The Benefit of BHEI Workshops 

Our overarching goal at NWOC is to help more Californians become homeowners and build lasting wealth for themselves and their families. Of course, homeownership comes with a hefty price tag – so our education programs and resources will help you ask the right questions before committing. 

NWOC’s educational resources, including our in-person and virtual BHEI workshops, feature community lending partners resources to help empower aspiring homeowners. As a Black California, you’ll receive access to valuable insights, information, and guidance. 

We’re focused on equipping Black individuals with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of homeownership by… 

✓ Promoting Financial Literacy 

Through financial literacy programs and down payment assistance, NWOC aims to break down longstanding barriers to Black homeownership. Financial empowerment is at the core of our initiative, because we believe the path to homeownership should be accessible to all.

✓ Explaining the Homebuying Process

The better Black Californians understand the homebuying process, the more they’re equipped to make informed decisions about their own financial journey. That’s why we cover the various ins and outs of applying for a mortgage, purchasing a house, and budgeting for homeownership. 

✓ Legal and Regulatory Guidance

The policies, regulations, and rights surrounding housing policies can be confusing. Our program offers aspiring Black homeowners the chance of entering a more secure, informed homebuying process.

✓ Home Shopping & Buying Support Services 

NWOC is here to help homebuyers through every part of the process. According to one of our recent studies from NeighborWorks America, homebuyers who work with our network of organizations are one-third less likely to become 90 or more days delinquent during the first two years of homeownership than those who do not. 

How to Sign Up for a BHEI Workshop 

It’s never too late to begin your homeownership journey. Join our BHEI workshops to gain valuable insights and enter a supportive community. We’ll help you take crucial steps toward achieving your dream of becoming a Black homeowner. 

Our BHEI workshops are scheduled once a month from 5:45 – 7:00 PM. There are also select in-person dates for those who are interested. Our next virtual workshop will take place on Thursday, February 15, 2024  at 5:45 PM and will include an introduction to home buying 101. 

Registration is required for all participants, so please sign up in advance for any of our 2024 workshop dates. 

Learn More About NeighborWorks Orange County 

Together, we can break down barriers and create a future where homeownership is a reality for all, including Black families in Orange County. Join NWOC’s Black Homeownership Empowerment Initiative today – let’s build strong, empowered communities.

Whether you’re considering buying a home, seeking support, or looking to contribute to our cause, there are various ways to get involved. Learn more about NWOC events today, including our monthly lunch and learns. 


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