By Jurnee Taylor
Courtesy Photos of NAREB
Homeownership was once what many Americans considered to be the American dream, but until the passing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, achieving that dream was more of a nightmare.
In 1947, the National Association of Real Estate Brookers (NAREB) was founded with the mission of “Democracy in Housing”, with a focus of fair housing for all. The Memphis Chapter of NAREB used relator’s week, which was also planned intentional during National Fair Housing Month, to educate through advocacy, activism and action.
“Our goal as a local chapter in Memphis is to increase home ownership by educating Black Americans and the community at-large about the current and long-term value of home ownership as opposed to renting,” NAREB Memphis Chapter President, Cheryl Muhammad said.
A goal that has motivation behind it. According to Muhammad, most African-Americans haven’t recovered from the 2008 economic crisis our country experienced. Since then economic recovery has been declared; however, black home ownership continues to decline. According to the United States Census Bureau, Black ownership peaked in 2004 at 50 percent, but today it is 42.9 percent compared to Hispanics at 46.9 percent, Asians 58.1 percent and for White Americans that number sits at 73.6 percent.
Memphian Jasmine Faulkner and her husband are currently looking for their first home and like most Black Americans they have no idea where to start, but home ownership is something they've been eyeing for years now.
"Growing up my mom instilled in me the importance of having something that is yours. Something that can’t be taken away," said Faulkner.
Owning her own home will make her feel more “established” and more at peace knowing that her newborn will be raised in a good neighborhood.
And, many programs like The Tennessee Housing Development Agency, credit and mortgage counselors, along with veteran’s resources were there at the Community Wealth Day to help her and many others with that establishment.
“As a state agency, my presence here lets the community know that NAREB is connected across the state of Tennessee and that we are here to support them and not only support them but offer a program that’s gives $15,000 dollars as down payment assistance [for homebuyers],” THDA Liaison, Doreen Graves said.
NAREB plans to continue to make its mark in the Memphis community through more visible programming and relationship building with policy makers. Democracy and fair housing for all is their mission and they are “sounding the alarm” to all Americans to let them know that home ownership is the number one way to build wealth and close the racial wealth gap.