Ten years after the Great Recession the consequences continue for a significant portion of the American people. Unfortunately, an overwhelming percentage of those still negatively affected by the Financial Crisis are African Americans.

When the Great Recession hit a disproportionate amount of black Americans were foreclosed on by banks, ripping future wealth from us quickly and without remorse. We have not recovered. As the National Association of Real Estate Brokers stated in a recent press release, “The drop in homeownership has grown so severe that it could impede wealth creation for generations of minority families. We lost a lot of wealth. We are reaching epidemic and crisis levels in black America.”

Crisis is a frightening word, as it should be, because it accurately describes the situation that black Americans are currently struggling to overcome. Homeownership for African Americans is forty-two percent, marking a noticeable gap in the wealth of the renting fifty-eight percent. When parents do not buy real estate, they are stuck in an endless cycle of paying their landlord’s mortgage for him. This is ridiculous when they could be paying their own mortgage as well as building an inheritance for their children, grandchildren, and on throughout the generations.

Without African Americans buying homes today, later black generations will struggle as other races begin life on a more stable economic platform with an inheritance, stability, and a lack of a wealth gap.

The question, therefore, is what do we do next? That question is not difficult to answer. We must open opportunities for African Americans to buy homes through wealth initiatives. Programs like the Sapphire Program allow for qualifying renters to not have to have a downpayment to get a mortgage, which was unheard of years ago. These programs need to grow and flourish in order for the rising tide to raise all boats. As we surface from the horrible recession, we must reach for our neighbors and allow them the opportunity for the same opportunities and success that other races seem to be born into on their quest for the American Dream.

Now we must turn to NAREB in order to make this dream of financial stability and homeownership a reality for all Americans, regardless of color. NAREB is ready and so is The Power Is Now Inc. Join NAREB in Long Beach, California for the annual convention that will change the state of America! The Power Is Now!

Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA

President and CEO