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VIRTUAL TOWN HALL: Helping Black applicants overcome home loan disparities

WCNC Charlotte is partnering with local Carolina organizations to make a difference by spotlighting available community resources.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Persistent systemic challenges continue to prevent people of color from securing home loans.

As WCNC Charlotte has reported, data shows most of Charlotte's largest lenders denied Black applicants two to three times more often than their white counterparts in 2018 and 2019.

RELATED: Largest lenders deny home loans for Black applicants up to three times more often than whites

Now WCNC Charlotte is partnering with local Carolina organizations to make a difference by spotlighting available community resources.

WCNC Charlotte hosted "Bring It Home," a virtual, town hall event helping Black applicants overcome mortgage loan disparities. The live forum provided resources to securing down payment grants, credit counseling, and other tools for hopeful homebuyers.

You can replay the forum on YouTube and Facebook.

Watching on wcnc.com? This page will auto-refresh. To watch with an uninterrupted experience, watch the event on YouTube.

Joining the live panel:

  • Erin Barbee is the Senior Vice President of Programs and Fund Development for DreamKey Partners (formerly the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership).
  • Dwight Crawford, New Rez 
  • Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell, Johnson C. Smith University Metropolitan College of Professional Studies Interim Dean
  • Michael Hoard, Charlotte Crown Black Real Estate Association President
  • Nate Morabito, WCNC Charlotte investigator reporter

“It is really important to highlight and find solutions and not just report on the problems that exist in our communities," said WCNC Charlotte news director Carrie Hofmann. "The town hall is one way we can do that.”

WCNC Charlotte's journalists are dedicated to financial assistance and literacy. Our team of investigative reporters continues to report on their series, "Where's the Money?"

Meet the community panel

Erin Barbee

Erin Barbee is the Senior Vice President of Programs and Fund Development for DreamKey Partners (formerly the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership). She is an operational executive with an exemplary record of developing and directing strategic organizational initiatives by partnering with executive management, community leaders and team members to ensure focus and accountability to business goals and objectives. Key areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to driving organizational change, creation and implementation of innovative ideas, process alignment, team development and collective impact. She is responsible for overseeing the programs that impact economic mobility for the clients served. This includes the financial literacy program, digital literacy program, home buyer education, fundraising, community engagement and management of the House Charlotte program for the City of Charlotte. 

Prior to dedicating herself to affordable housing, Erin was an Executive Director within the senior living field for 13 years. She specialized in providing stellar care for older adults in need of Assisted Living and Memory Care Communities.

She is deeply embedded in the community and has been challenged with making large community concerns tangible and understood by all community members. These community concerns include but, are not limited to affordable housing, food insecurity, lack of upward mobility and building trust across lines of difference.

Outside of work, Erin has been a dedicated community member that focuses on building equity in the City of Charlotte through her volunteer services on various boards and commissions. Erin believes that every person should have access to opportunities and programs that lead to economic mobility, a voice at the table and enjoy a fulfilled life in the place they reside. 

Dwight Crawford

Dwight Crawford joined the New Rez family a little over three years ago. He was asked to help to create a world class mortgage team that is prepared to adapt to a changing mortgage environment; that is focused on helping people get into their homes with the least amount of expense with the lowest payment. He left a vice presidency position with Wells Fargo to join New Rez Mortgage. He comes with more than 20 of banking experience as an originator, manager, trainer, author and bank president. When asked what makes his style different, he states frankly, “Selling a mortgage is much more than just a rate and a payment. It is the deep understanding of your clients needs, now and for the next 30 years. The only way that a true professional can counsel a client is to be well rounded, not only with the products of the bank, but with the many aspects of life that affect a client. Education and experience are the key to this success.”

 During the last 20 years, Dwight has been deeply devoted to serving all of the communities that he has been in. During that time, he has been recognized for his service with awards like, The Jefferson Award for Outstanding Commitment to Public Service, The Community Impact Award, Who’s Who in Black Charlotte, The Star Award for Outstanding Community Service, The President Award for Outstanding Mortgage Service and Top Production Awards from every bank that he has ever worked. Dwight is also a very active member of several local civic groups and a Member of Charlotte Crown Black Real Estate Association, the local chapter of the National Association of Realtors where he is a Past Chair of the Community Outreach Committee and current Chair of the Membership Committee. He is a Past Chair of the West Corridor Chapter of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce. Dwight is a founding member of the Young Bankers Club, a financial literacy program geared to Title One 5th and 6th graders in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system. One of his proudest achievements is that he has facilitated more than $15 million in down payment assistance to families to help achieve the Dream of Home Ownership.

Dwight’s expertise also is strongly based in helping investors and the self-employed build wealth and expand their portfolio of real estate with strategic use of equity and unique products that are tailored to investors and self-employed borrowers.

Dwight was born in Montreal, Canada, but has lived most of his life in New York. He has been in Charlotte for the past 16 years. “The first time I came to Charlotte, I knew, it was going to be very hard to leave, so I didn’t,” he said. Dwight now lives in Harrisburg with his wife Elisabeth, 12-year-old son Davis and 16-year-old daughter Veronica.

Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell

Dr. Melita Pope Mitchell is a veteran educator and advocate for adults and underrepresented populations in higher education.  Originally from Gary, Indiana, she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American World Studies from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa.  In addition, she holds a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She completed her Doctor of Education degree in Adult and Community College Education from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. As a doctoral student, she was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key International Honour Society. Her doctoral research addressed the Factors Influencing Prospective African American Doctoral Students’ Selection of For-Profit Institutions and was presented at the 31st Annual International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity Q Conference in Ancona, Italy. Dr. Mitchell is a member of the ECMC Foundation Postsecondary CTE Research Fellows Class of 2020.

Throughout her 22-year career in higher education, she has held positions in both student and academic affairs at the University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Johnson C. Smith University. She has worked with traditional and non-traditional students in higher education.  Dr. Mitchell was recently appointed the Interim Dean of the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte, North Carolina. In this role, she oversees the Business and Economics, Evening and Online and Health and Human Performance Departments. Prior to her appointment, she served as the Assistant Dean and Director of Evening & Online Programs at JCSU since 2015. In this capacity, she supported adult learners from enrollment through graduation.  Dr. Mitchell served as Metropolitan College of Professional Studies Evening & Online Programs Department Chair supporting full time and adjunct faculty. She has also served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Johnson C. Smith University since October 2011.  In this capacity, she has instructed traditional and non-traditional students in the face to face and online delivery formats. She previously served as a Board Member of the North Carolina Adult Education Association. A dedicated alumna of the University of Iowa, she has served on the University of Iowa Alumni Association Board of Directors, University of Iowa Foundation Alumni Leadership Council and founded the Iowa Black Alumni Network in 2009. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Union County Chamber, member of the American Educational Research Association, and Association for Career and Technical Education Research. Dr. Mitchell is a Diamond Life Member Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two sons.

Michael Hoard

Michael Hoard is the owner Hoard Law in Charlotte, North Carolina and also practices law in Illinois. He was born and raised on the southside of Chicago. He earned a Juris Doctor degree at Southern Illinois University. After passing the Illinois bar, Michael was appointed as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General.  In that role, he handled criminal appeals in the state appellate courts, state supreme court, and U.S. Court of Appeals. Michael left the Illinois Attorney General’s office and became a partner in Lopez, Hoard and Affiliates. In private practice, he handled felony and misdemeanor criminal cases, divorces, personal injuries, bankruptcies and real estate transactions. In 2004, Attorney Hoard obtained a real estate broker’s license in Illinois. After seven years of private practice, Michael worked as trust counsel at The Northern Trust Company, where he supervised the global suspicious activity reporting and reviewed client trust agreements and investments. Michael left the corporate arena in 2010 and obtained a license to practice in North Carolina. In 2016, Attorney Hoard obtained a real estate broker’s license in North Carolina.  Hoard Law, P.C. focuses on residential real estate transactions and bankruptcy. Attorney Hoard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. He is currently serving his second term as president of Charlotte Crown Black Real Estate Association.

Nate Morabito

Nate Morabito is a reporter at WCNC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina specializing in investigative journalism.

Nate joined WCNC's Defenders investigative reporting team in July 2018 after spending 14 years with WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tennessee. In 2016, he was named a finalist for the IRE Award and his investigations have resulted in changes to federal and state laws, public policy, and even criminal investigations and convictions.

Nate spent most of his childhood in Charlotte. He grew up in Cameron Wood and attended Huntingtowne Farms and Bruns Avenue Elementary schools, Quail Hollow Middle School and South Mecklenburg High School, where he played golf and ran cross country. He spent his early years playing baseball and basketball in Pineville and earned his Eagle Scout rank from Boy Scout Troop 256.

Nate is a diehard Carolina Panthers and college basketball fan, a foodie and a music lover. In fact, he recently started taking piano lessons.

The Syracuse University alum worked at KAWE/KAWB in Brainerd, Minnesota after graduation. He's since earned his master's degree from East Tennessee State University.

Contact Nate Morabito at nmorabito@wcnc.com and follow Nate on Facebook and Twitter.

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