Wells Fargo Foundation Awards $7.5 Million to LISC NY to Expand Homeownership for Families of Color
Wealth Opportunities Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) grant will help approximately 5,000 homebuyers
A new effort to help more people of color in New York City become homeowners is launching today with the support of a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The grant was awarded to a new collaborative led by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) NY, in partnership with the Center for NYC Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City (NHSNYC).
The donation comes from Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership initiative, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. New York City is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant, which aims to help create 5,000 new homeowners of color across the city by the end of 2025.
Today’s announcement took place during NHSNYC’s Homeownership Expo at the TWU Counseling Center, where participants learned about the homeownership process, how to find and secure mortgages, and how to navigate down payments and closing costs.
“As a company, we’re committed to creating opportunities for more people of color to buy their own homes,” said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation and head of Philanthropy and Community Impact. “We know that without deliberate interventions from the public and private sectors, there is risk that the racial homeownership gap will continue to grow. Today’s donation in New York City is about accelerating actions that will build homeownership, and in turn, generational wealth.”
“The systemic barriers that have blocked people of color from accessing paths to homeownership for much of our history have been a key driver of a broader economic and social inequity,” said Valerie White, senior executive director at LISC NY. “We thank the Wells Fargo Foundation for this grant, which will advance LISC NY’s mission of closing the racial wealth gap by supporting our efforts to expand homeownership in historically marginalized communities of color.”
The nonprofits plan to implement a variety of strategies to expand housing inventory and support homebuyers of color, including:
- Launching an interagency network of public, private, and nonprofit partners to leverage relationships and existing services to reach more consumers and generate efficiencies
- Advocating for the city and state to invest additional capital to build more affordable homeownership projects and Community Land Trusts, as well as policy changes that create new homeownership options for New Yorkers
- Addressing the lack of capital availability for BIPOC residents by developing and leveraging a Loan Loss Reserve and Open Access Fund to help make mortgages to borrowers with non‑traditional credit sources
- Expanding outreach and increasing awareness of down payment and closing cost assistance programs
“For 40 years, NHSNYC has advocated for historically marginalized communities across New York City by increasing investment in underserved neighborhoods,” said Derrick Griggs, CEO of NHSNYC. “The support from the Wells Fargo Foundation enables NHSNYC to create the Open Access Loan Fund, which will significantly expand access to mortgage financing for minority communities.”
“Homeownership is one of the key benchmarks of economic stability for families; unfortunately, it’s too frequently out of reach for first-generation Black and brown New Yorkers — and post-COVID speculation in lower-income neighborhoods in the boroughs and rising interest rates have only made these roadblocks more acute,” said Christie Peale, CEO & executive director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods. “These interventions will not only help first-time homebuyers make real progress towards owning their homes, but will help keep these key assets for building intergenerational wealth in families for the long-term — and ultimately make New York City a better and more equitable city in which to live and grow.”
Source: Wells Fargo