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Habitat Charlotte Region hosts affordable housing symposium

The event focused on the devaluation of assets in Black-majority communities and how to overcome policies that hamper demographics.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region, known as Habitat Charlotte Region, is continuing help within the community. 

The agency held the Building Futures Affordable Housing Symposium on Tuesday, March 8. It is all part of Habitat Charlotte Region's Beloved Community initiative, sponsored by Lowe's. 

According to Habitat Charlotte Region's website, "inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King’s work and vision, the Beloved Community is a tangible expression of our collective pursuit of justice, opportunity and equality. Together we have the power to create positive change." 

This year's keynote speaker was Andre M. Perry, a Senior Fellow at Brookings Metro, a scholar-in-residence at American University, and author of Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America's Black Cities.

Perry's presentation focused on "restoring value to black communities," an in-depth into Black neighborhoods and the devaluation. According to one slide presented by Perry, homes in primarily Black neighborhoods are worth less, on average, than homes in less than 1% Black neighborhoods. Perry's statistics were sourced through an analysis of Zillow and the 2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates. 

Perry said he's seeking solutions for minorities in Charlotte who want to own homes but are met with financial barriers.

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"I think we need new forms of ownership," he said. "New community land trusts where people can split the costs of housing between the actual property and the land. We certainly need new down payment programs; because when you have a lack of wealth, and Black and Brown people have much lower wealth, how it shows up in home buying is the lack of a down payment."

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You can learn more about Habitat Charlotte Region and the initiatives underway across the Queen City by visiting the agency's website.