St. Louis Park pilot program would seek to facilitate homeownership for people of color
JulY 20th, 2021
Given wide disparities in homeownership rates in St. Louis Park, the city is poised to begin a pilot program geared toward helping people of color buy houses.
The federal Fair Housing Act prevents St. Louis Park from offering “a race-based homeownership program,” according to a city staff report.
“To comply with fair housing yet focus the assistance towards Black, Indigenous and people of color to the extent possible, the proposed program is targeted to first-generation homeownership, which will require that the homeowner and their parents to have not previously owned a home,” the report says. “Homeownership is one of the primary ways for households to generate wealth. This homeownership program is a wealth building program for lower-income households that have been kept out of homeownership.”
Minnesota has the third-highest rate of homeownership in the country but the fourth-highest disparity between white households and households of color or of Hispanic ethnicity, according to the report. Seventy-seven percent of white households in the state own homes while only 44% of households of color – lower than the 48% national rate for people of color. The rate for Black households in the state is 25%.
In St. Louis Park, 2019 data showed that the overall ownership rate is 56%, with 63% of white, non-Hispanic households owning. For people of color and Hispanic individuals, that rate drops to 21%, with only 8% of African American residents of St. Louis Park owning, according to Olson. She noted that the data is less precise when considering people in more specific demographic areas but said the data shows that only 1.1% of homeowners in St. Louis Park are Black.