With a brand new fund, Catapult Better Pittsburgh is attempting to assist Black’s first homebuyer

Dani Janae

Pittsburgh — For many, owning a home is a desirable milestone, but it cannot be achieved. There are many barriers that prevent people from buying their first home, but the new program through Catapult Greater Pittsburgh helps fight these issues, especially the economic barriers that have hindered the black community in Pittsburgh. I’m trying.

According to the state, the “Next Steps Fund” was launched to support efforts to “enhance the fairness of homeownership opportunities for black families.” The program seeks to achieve this by helping black families cover the closing costs and down payments required to buy a home.

“Having our own Closing Assistance Fund has been on our’wish list’for the past few years,” said Tammy Thompson, Executive Director of the organization. “When we built our organization’s homeownership program, DOOR (Development and Ownership Opportunity for Residents), we believed that participants couldn’t save enough money to cover the cost of closure, retirement funds and emergencies. I knew how often I would wipe out my savings and shut them down. I wanted to provide support. “

Initially, it was difficult to find funding for the project until a group of women in Pittsburgh organized to change it.rear Study Pittsburgh Racial Disparities, Jennifer McDowell, Catherine Rafael, Eve Emmons, Georgia Burner, Nancy Bernstein, Diane Petronco have decided it’s time to do something to change the community.

In their study, after reading the city’s report on gender and racial inequality in Pittsburgh, we interviewed community leaders to find the best way to deal with Pittsburgh’s institutional racism. I did. Eventually, the group found a way to guide Thompson. However, the group began to focus on housing until McDowell realized that he could sell his home for profit. This is more common in white families than in black families.

“Catapult’s existing homeownership program provided black families with the opportunity to begin helping to destroy and eliminate systems that widened widespread economic inequality,” McDowell said.

All their research and research has provided two main considerations.

  1. Financial institutions reject mortgage applications for black homebuyers, 2.5 times more than white homebuyers. And from July 2019 to July 2020, more than 80% of Pittsburgh homeowners were white.
  2. In 2015, Pittsburgh’s Affordable Housing Task Force published its findings and recommendations. The Task Force has identified a shortage of 17,241 affordable housing units for those who earn 50% of the median income in the region (for a family of four, this is $ 35,600).To fill the gap, the task force Housing Opportunity Fund, Implementation with storage of already affordable units Comprehensive residential zone Some of the new housing units need to be affordable.

After reaching these perceptions, women began raising funds, directly funding closure costs and homeowner down payments. Catapult was awarded $ 200,000 from the Pennsylvania Home Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (of which $ 150,000 goes directly to black homebuyers), but the group is still working on future funding efforts. I am very interested in reaching out to potential donors for this.

Dani Janae is a reporter for the Pittsburgh City Paper. Where this story first appeared..

With a new fund, Catapult Greater Pittsburgh is trying to help Black’s first homebuyer

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