Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Gateway to Wealth: New B.E.-GE Initiative Seeks to Close the Home Ownership Gap. (Real Estate Strategies)

Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Gateway to Wealth: New B.E.-GE Initiative Seeks to Close the Home Ownership Gap. (Real Estate Strategies)

Article excerpt

African Americans have always trailed whites as home owners. Since 1995, the percentage of African American homeowners in the United States has trailed the percentage of white homeowners by 26% or more--a problem that many believe contributes to the wealth disparity between the two races. BLACK ENTERPRISE and General Electric Mortgage Insurance have entered into an ambitious partnership aimed at increasing the number of African American homeowners nationwide, and educating African Americans about the value of using home ownership as a gateway to wealth.

"There is an unacceptable home ownership gap between white and African American households in this country, and too little is being done about it," says Tom Mann, president and CEO of GE Mortgage Insurance. "Home ownership is a major step in wealth accumulation, and we want to help more African Americans take that step."

The plan to get more African Americans into homes will be incorporated into the existing Black Wealth Initiative (call 877-WEALTHY for a Wealth Building kit) that BE began more than two years ago. Lisa Salley, vice president of New Markets for GE Mortgage Insurance, says the emphasis will be on education--providing live workshops and tools for people to do financial self-assessments, and then making access to mortgage loans easier. BE will sponsor events where home ownership will be emphasized, and also provide Internet access to mortgage calculation tools and mortgage applications from GE and its lending partners.

"Every individual ought to have a personal home ownership strategy," says Salley. …

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