Black Chicagoans Get A Hand Up To Homeownership With $20K Grants Through Cook County Land Bank Authority

Black Chicagoans Get A Hand Up To Homeownership With $20K Grants Through Cook County Land Bank Authority

Building wealth is an uphill battle for Black Americans.

Cook County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) in Chicago is helping Black people build generational wealth through initiatives that make homeownership possible. CCLBA’s new Purchase Assistance Program will offer homebuyers $20,000 to make buying a home accessible.

Unfair procedures have barricaded Blacks from homeownership. Jessica Caffrey, executive director at CCLBA, said, “Since the 20th century, there have been practices such as redlining, contract purchasing, and all of those things that have held us back nearly 100 years,” WTTW news reported. The CCLBA is providing homes by acquiring vacant residential and commercial property. Closing the racial wealth gap calls for systemic changes. Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin said, “We know that it must start from the top, WTTW News reported. Conyears-Ervin added, “We need to work with the leadership of these large bank institutions, make certain they’re buying into the mission.”

Earlier this year, BLACK ENTERPRISE reported the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a more than $31 million settlement with the City National Bank of Los Angeles for declining to “underwrite mortgages in predominantly Black and Latino communities.” In a statement, the DOJ said it is the largest redlining settlement by the DOJ in history. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said, “This settlement embodies Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to fighting economic injustice and ensuring that Black Americans and all communities of color are able to access the American dream and freely access the credit needed to purchase a home.”

In 2017, the CCLBA announced its Homebuyer Direct Program. It was noted that the program provided “fixer-upper homes at below-market prices in neighborhoods across Cook County.”

For decades, community leaders and activists have explained the benefits of homeownership as a promising way to build generational wealth.