Black Evanston residents are invited to Community Wealth Building Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, December 4 at the Faith Temple Church of God in Christ, 1932 Dewey Avenue to learn how to become and retain homeownership, how ownership can be within reach and why buying a home can positively change their financial future. The event is hosted by the Reparations Stakeholder Authority of Evanston and the Dearborn Realtist Board and is free and open to the public.
On hand at the event will be real estate industry experts, public and private sector housing finance executives, mortgage lending professionals, down payment assistance agencies and community development partners. Collectively, they can help current and future Black residents understand the home buying process, mortgage financing options and down payment assistance opportunities. The information puts attendees on the path to rebuild Black family and community wealth.
The City of Evanston is making reparations available to eligible Black residents for what it describes as harm caused by “discriminatory housing policies and practices and inaction on the city’s part.” The program is believed to be the first of its kind in the U.S. and is seen by advocates as a potential national model. It will grant qualifying households up to $25,000 for down payments or home repairs and is the first initiative of a city reparations fund that was established in 2019.
“We have a large and unfortunate gap in wealth, opportunity, education, and even life expectancy,” said former 5th Ward City Council member Robin Rue Simmons, who was an early and strong advocate for the reparations program. “The fact that we have a $46,000 gap between the homes in the historically red-lined neighborhood that I live in and the average white household, led me to pursue a very radical solution to a problem that we have not been able to solve: reparations. The Program is a step towards revitalizing, preserving, and stabilizing Black/African-American owner-occupied homes in Evanston, increasing homeownership and building the wealth of Black/African-American residents, building intergenerational equity amongst Black/African-American residents, and improving the retention rate of Black/African-American homeowners in the City of Evanston.”
The Evanston Community Wealth Building Day is planned to answer consumer questions about the home buying process and how to get ready to buy and or maintain a home. Additional workshops are planned to educate residents on how to find and structure down payment assistance to make homeownership affordable and sustainable.
“If you are looking to increase your real estate knowledge and build wealth, you need to attend Community Wealth Building Day,” said Gwendolene Newton, President of the Dearborn Realtist Board. “Homebuyer counselors, lenders, financial wealth presenters and other real estate professionals will all be under one roof.”
More information and registration is available here for the free Community Wealth Building Day.