Having spent much of her adulthood in Section 8 housing, Natasha Jones never imagined that she’d one day become a homeowner. But in March, the 32-year-old closed on a three-bedroom house in Jacksonville, Florida. It took months of repairing her credit and the help of affordable housing advocacy groups to achieve her goal.
“I have kids, and I didn’t want to raise them in government housing,” Jones said. “I wanted something I could call my own.”
The majority of African-Americans believe homeownership is part of the American dream, according to affordable housing group NeighborWorks America. But the wealth gap between blacks and whites, soaring home costs, fewer available homes and the lingering effects of the Great Recession make homeownership an out-of-reach dream for many Black people.
Despite the odds, Jones made it happen. The mother of three makes a modest income working in a facility that serves people with intellectual disabilities but set out to become a homeowner after tiring of telling her children she needed permission from the landlord just to decorate their rooms how they liked. So last fall, Jones pulled her credit report and worked to clean up any blemishes. By January, she had paid off the outstanding debts that lowered her FICO score. And with the help of NeighborWorks, Jones secured funding for a down payment. (Atlanta Black Star)