Denver Homeownership Program to Help Those Affected by Redlining
DENVER – On Monday, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Housing Director Britta Fisher announced the official launch of the city’s new metroDPA social equity program, designed to help people of color affected by the redlining to buy a house.
Redlining is the practice of denying someone a home loan in certain areas of a city because of their race.
For example, in Denver, redlining practices meant that people of color could not live outside of the Whittier, Cole, North Park Hill, Five Points, Globeville Elyria-Swansea, and Auraria neighborhoods.
Hancock said this form of discrimination limited homeownership opportunities for black and Latino residents, especially between the years 1938 and 2000.
“For too long, communities of color have been excluded from the American Dream,” Hancock said. “About 50% of us Denver residents own their homes. There’s 54% ownership among white households, and it’s much lower for BIPOC households, at just 41%.
Hancock and Fisher said the program plans to increase homeownership for Black, Indigenous and people of color by offering $15,000 to $25,000 interest-free, three-year forgivable loans that program participants do not have to repay.
“You must qualify for a 30-year fixed-rate home loan, earn less than $150,000 a year…have a 640 credit score,” Fisher said. “Programs like these help mitigate the generational impacts of discriminatory practices such as redlining and involuntary relocation.”
Dontrael Starks is one of the first candidates to be approved for the program.
“My grandfather Johnny Walker used to walk with Martin Luther King. He was the reverend of the Baptist Church of Macedonia on Franklin Street. They faced a lot of racism,” Starks said.
Starks said that, unfortunately, when it came to buying a house, he also faced racism and discrimination.
“We’re still struggling with the same things my grandparents struggled with. It’s either because ‘oh, your down payment money hasn’t been in the bank long enough or you don’t haven’t been in this job long enough,” Starks said. “I’ve been trying to buy a house for probably ten years. I have five kids and we’re seven, so we all live in a three-bedroom house.”
Starks said he was excited to participate in the program and buy a bigger home for his family.
The City of Denver hopes the program will increase the homeownership rate among people of color from 41% to 45% by 2026.