News & Press: The Road Home Newsletter

Black History Month – a Reason to Celebrate

Saturday, February 17, 2018  
Share |

February 16, 2018

Black History Month – a Reason to Celebrate

February is designated as Black History Month, first established in 1926 as “Negro History Week”.  February was selected because it is the birth month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, sometimes described as the founder of the American civil rights movement.  He was born a slave in Maryland until he escaped to New York at the age of 20.  He became a speaker and writer on civil rights as well as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad.  In later years he also became a friend of President Lincoln, and encouraged the release of the Emancipation Proclamation.  To learn more click Douglass or Black History

Since those early days of slavery in our country, a rich history of tragedy and achievement among black Americans has continued and they have made many notable contributions to the arts, science, sports and politics.  While individual contributions are too numerous to cover here, one aspect of this relates specifically to our AHA mission:  to protect and promote sustainable homeownership for all segments of American.  In 1947 The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was formed, known as the Realtists©.  If you have ever wondered why the Realtor© designation is copyright marked, it was done, in part, to restrict its usage and to exclude black real estate agents and brokers from membership in the National Association of Realtors prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  The Realtists were formed to conduct real estate business among all qualified practitioners committed to “Democracy in Housing”.  Over these many decades, NAREB has been influential in many efforts implementing equal rights, fair housing, equal opportunity and community development at the federal, state and local levels.  To learn more click NAREB

In 2015, NAREB set a goal of 2 million new black homeowners within five years.  To achieve this goal, overly restrictive credit constraints need to be addressed for black and all potential homeowners.  The housing inventory crisis also is a factor – and one that has been even more evident and catastrophic in black communities due to the accumulation of foreclosed properties by institutional investors which impinges on the potential for single family owner-occupant homeowners who may be ready, willing and able to buy those properties.  To read NAREB’s comprehensive assessment of the status of black housing click Black Housing 2016

Homeownership rates in the black population continue to lag white rates by significant variances (42.2% versus 70.8% in 2015); and also significantly, wealth accumulation among black homeowners is less than half that of white owners, largely due to lower rates of homeownership and property appreciation in disadvantaged, economically challenged communities that are predominately occupied by minorities.  Our history of slavery, discrimination and redlining continues to impact these citizens and communities even today.

Your AHA continues to work to increase access to credit by having Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac accept alternative credit scoring models to provide more modern techniques in defining creditworthiness of potential homeowners --  as well as calling for them to reduce fees to align with the very moderate credit risk represented in today’s market.  This will become even more important as mortgage interest rates begin to rise.  We have also called upon government at all levels to address regulations that increase the costs of new home construction that make homes unattainable by first time homebuyers.  And we urge constraints on the sales of foreclosed or repossessed properties so that owner occupant buyers have a chance to purchase them -- before they go to institutional investors.  We have been early, strong supporters of clearboard usage to mitigate blight in neighborhoods with vacant properties. These changes are more urgent for the black community and that is why we have formed the Black Homeowner Alliance, a division of the AHA, to specifically work with black communities to address these issues as we continue to work for sustainable homeownership for all segments of America.

Black history is OUR history.  Let’s celebrate it this month and continue to work to improve all of our communities with increased homeownership.

Winter is not quite over – Make sure your HVAC keeps humming

With cold days continuing and at least a few more frigid nights to come, make sure that your HVAC continues to perform for the rest of the winter season:

Presidents’ Day is Monday – and Online Sellers Are On

Find the latest double cash back reward offers for Presidents’ Day – Amazon, Groupon and Walmart top the list.  Just go to Member Rewards for the latest offers.