WXXI AM News

Racial divide in homeownership in Rochester

Aug 23, 2017

A new report shows Rochester has a huge racial divide when it comes to home ownership.

According to Apartmentlist.com, the homeownership rate in Rochester is 70 percent for white households, but just 21 percent for black households.

It's 35 percent for Hispanic and 48 percent for Asian households.

ACT Rochester encourages the use of data in problem solving.

Its director, Ann Johnson, says she's not surprised by the report.

"Based on what has happened over time and earnings.  If we look right now at median income, white's make significantly more than blacks, Latinos and other people of color," she said. "The investment in a home and that asset provides wealth over generations, and that's why whites have been able to do more over time because they have been able to build that wealth."

Credit apartmentlist.com

Home ownership is a primary driver of wealth creation for many people.

And Johnson says it is a focus of the Rochester Monroe Anti Poverty Initiative, as a result of the work groups that RMAPI has conducted.

Dr. Leonard Brock, director of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, released this statement:

“The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative is committed to improving self-sufficiency for those living in poverty, a process that includes identifying and eliminating the barriers to finding sustainable employment and ultimately home ownership.

To overcome the racial disparities in home ownership rates, we must also acknowledge and address the impact of structural racism, which is one of the RMAPI guiding principles in addressing poverty.

Our region has a long history of housing discrimination, including policies and practices put in place in the aftermath of World War II that created restrictive and detrimental barriers for Rochester’s growing African-American and minority populations in buying homes.

As a broader community, collectively we must look at the root causes of these home ownership disparities and find ways to address them together.”

Apartmentlist.com says it's becoming increasingly important to prioritize policies aimed at promoting homeownership among minority and low-income Americans to lessen inequality.

Click here for the full report.