Wells Fargo Foundation Awards $22.5 Million to LISC To Expand Homeownership for BIPOC Families

Grants are fueling LISC-led coalitions in Houston, New York City and Greater Richmond region
Nov 30, 2022 4:00 PM ET

Wells Fargo Foundation Awards $22.5 Million to LISC to Expand Homeownership for…

NEW YORK, November 30, 2022 /3BL Media/ - The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has teamed up with the Wells Fargo Foundation on a $22.5 million strategy to close racial gaps in homeownership in three metro areas and help 15,000 families buy their own homes.

This effort is part of Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunity Realized Through Homeownership (WORTH) program, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to home-buying for Black, Hispanic and other underserved individuals and families.

The foundation awarded $7.5 million each to LISC program offices in Houston, New York and Richmond, Va., where LISC will lead local collaboratives to design new mortgage products, support new housing developments, address affordability challenges, and provide education to racially and ethnically diverse homebuyers. Local partners run the gamut from government agencies and community-based organizations to business groups and nonprofit lenders.

Altogether, Wells Fargo has targeted eight markets for its WORTH program and aims to support 40,000 new homeowners of color.

“The vision of the WORTH program is to harness the collective expertise, reach and action of housing advocates to enable more Black, African American, Hispanic and other underserved individuals to achieve homeownership,” said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “This funding is a natural extension of our long collaboration with LISC, which shares our focus on advancing greater racial equity and wealth building.”

Nationally, 74.6 percent of white households are homeowners, but just 48.7 percent of Hispanic households and 45.2 percent of Black households own their homes. In fact, the gap between Black and white homeowners is greater today than it was in 1960, before the Fair Housing Act made redlining illegal.

“The WORTH collaborations are meant to upend decades of destructive practices that have disadvantaged people of color,” said Denise Scott, LISC president. “They will create opportunities for families to buy homes and build wealth, while also demonstrating what really works to break down racial barriers and strengthen local economies. The positive ripple effect will benefit communities long into the future,” she said.

LISC is tapping WORTH funding to address multiple facets of housing equity, all tailored to local circumstances. In Houston, for instance, the WORTH partners are working to expand the types of available housing, while also connecting programs related to savings, debt management, and mortgage lending.

In New York, the WORTH strategy includes access to capital, as well as policy and financing plans to help renters purchase their apartments when building owners are ready to sell. And in Richmond, the collaborative is working to expand access to flexible mortgage products, while also addressing construction costs and local policy challenges. All three strategies also include significant outreach to homebuyers, offering financial counseling and other support.

In addition to the three collaboratives it is leading, LISC is also participating as a partner in WORTH plans for Chicago and Philadelphia. Homeownership is a critical part of LISC’s national efforts to narrow gaps in health, wealth and opportunity, particularly through Project 10X, a $1 billion commitment to reducing racial disparities.

LISC and Wells Fargo have worked together for more than three decades to expand economic opportunity for underserved communities, investing more than $1.7 billion in affordable housing, economic development and entrepreneurship.

About LISC

LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.