Data show home-ownership disparities in ND
Tuesday, October 3, 2023
As the U.S. navigates a prolonged housing crisis, a North Dakota organization is highlighting data
showing significant homeownership disparities. According to the High Plains Fair Housing Center, North Dakota has the largest racial gap in the nation when it comes to owning a home. The state's gap is more than 20% higher than the U.S. average.
Jade Eagle, fair housing specialist with High Plains Fair Housing Center, said families of color were more likely than white families to have their applications denied or withdrawn. Both groups had common factors, but a lack of sufficient employment was higher for racial groups. She added there needs to be more job opportunities for these individuals.
"And I believe that lenders also need to be willing to work with people who have less traditional employment history, such as people who work for Uber, who have gig economy-type setups," she explained.
As for those submitting mortgage applications, the report says there are some eye-opening numbers, such as Native Americans accounting for just 1% of lending requests. That is despite the fact that they represent more than 5% of the state's population. Census Bureau data, covering last year, was a key source for much of the findings.
Eagle said there are some key assistance programs that can help close these gaps, but added awareness can be an issue.
"Especially the Section 184 program from HUD - I think that that is a huge game changer, potentially for Native families," she continued. "And I just feel like not many people know about it."
The HUD program she is referring to provides low down-payment requirements and flexible financing for American Indian and Alaska Native families. Other leaders with the Center say these programs, and those assigned to carry them out, often have to balance using their limited budgets to advertise the aid and securing enough resources to assist applicants.
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