Wells Fargo Teams With BIPOC Investment Groups For Initiative To Create Racially Equitable Affordable Housing

The Wells Fargo Foundation and four mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are improving housing affordability and availability in urban and underserved communities.

According to a Wells Fargo release, the foundation has provided Capital Impact Partners, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Raza Development Fund (RDF), and the Reinvestment Fund with $40 million as part of a four-year Growing Diverse Housing Developers (GDHD) initiative, a long-term commitment to creating equitable housing solutions around the country.

The GDHD is holding its annual conference in Atlanta this week to share best practices, common challenges, and effective approaches to creating housing equity and greater diversity in the industry. During the meeting, housing industry figures, program partners, funders, public officials, and other community members will participate in policy discussions, case study presentations, capital solutions, and tours of projects in development around Atlanta.

“We seek to invest in diverse real estate developers because there is such a long history of wealth building from real estate. It is important to connect a new, more diverse generation of developers to assets that appreciate cash flow and build community assets as well,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, president and CEO of the Reinvestment Fund. “Historical market limitations involving inequitable access to capital have blocked people of color from leveraging their tools, talent, and insight to revitalize their communities for the better. Initiatives that prioritize representation and diversity solve for that hindrance, enabling marginalized people to pursue worthwhile development despite restrictive market permission.”

Those at the GDHD conference will also discuss the racial inequities in housing, including discriminatory practices such as redlining and biased home appraisals. GDHD partners will also discuss fighting and removing the barriers keeping people of color from becoming homeowners.

Owning a home is still the most tried and true method of wealth-building in the U.S. However, the U.S. housing market is in dire need of new homes. According to CNN, the U.S. housing market is short by more than 6 million homes, pushing the market to a standstill for buyers and sellers. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports 44% of Black Americans are homeowners, while more than 70% of white Americans are homeowners.

“The Growing Diverse Housing Developers program has exceeded my expectations,” Darion Dunn, the managing partner of Atlanta-based housing development firm Atlantica Properties, said in a statement. “The powerful combination of technical assistance, industry networking opportunities, and customized lending products from Reinvestment Fund is accelerating the growth of Atlantica Properties.”