City officials announced the $7.5 million Wealth Opportunities Restored through Homeownership (WORTH) grant Wednesday at a news conference. Photo credit: San Diego Housing Commission

The San Diego Housing Commission Wednesday began an effort to expand homeownership among people of color thanks in part to a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

The rate of homeownership is significantly lower for households of color than white households. A SDHC-commissioned Urban Institute study of San Diego households found homeownership rates of 29.1% among Black households and 35.2% among Latino households, compared with 54.8% among white households.


“Homeownership is more than having a place to live — it opens the door to self-investment, community building, and generational wealth,” said Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, at a news conference for the new program Wednesday morning. “For communities of color, the housing crisis has been compounded by decades of discriminatory policies designed to exclude them from access to housing capital, financing, and ownership opportunities.”

The grant comes from Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership initiative, a $60 million national effort intended to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. San Diego is one of eight markets across the United States to receive a WORTH grant.

“Innovative programs and public-private partnerships, such as the WORTH grant, are crucial in tackling these issues,” Atkins said.

The SDHC and San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force are among the organizations in the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative, which will work to help create 5,000 new homeowners of color in San Diego County by the end of 2025.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Wells Fargo for dedicating funding so that more San Diego families have the opportunity to purchase a home,” Mayor Todd Gloria said.

“Public-private partnerships like these help us address the root causes of inequity. This funding will change the lives of 5,000 families of color in our community, helping put homeownership within reach at a time when it’s more crucial than ever,” Gloria added.

“Systemic inequities and racist historical practices have prevented families of color from achieving their homeownership and wealth-building goals for too long,” City Council President pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe said. “I’m thrilled that the Wells Fargo WORTH grant gives San Diego an opportunity to decrease the equity gap and increase access to homeownership for new homebuyers of color.”

The SDHC provides staff support for RTF and administers first-time homebuyer programs for the city and county of San Diego, and the cities of Chula Vista and El Cajon.

“As a company, we’re committed to putting homeownership in reach for more families of color,” said Otis Rolley, Wells Fargo’s head of social impact and president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We recognize the need for deliberate intervention from the public and private sectors to address the homeownership equity gap. We look forward to working with the collaborative to accelerate actions and foster greater homeownership, wealth and opportunity in San Diego.”

Through the grant funding, services and resources for homebuyers of color are scheduled to be developed, such as credit counseling, down payment assistance and homeownership navigators.

City News Service contributed to this article.




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Paul Adam