I’m a Black millennial property owner, of course we have the largest ownership gap of any generation.

For decades, a massive property ownership divide has persisted between white and Black/Latine Americans. It’s getting worse. 

Data shows Black Americans make up only 8.6 percent of the U.S. landlord population, while Latine Americans make up only 16.6 percent (compared to 64.5 percent white Americans). At UPD, we’re trying to reverse these trends with a groundbreaking program called Home for Good  which aims to increase the number of Black and Latine landlords because there’s no time to waste. 

Home for Good focuses on heirs properties that have long been in the care of Black and Latine families. These properties can serve as a potential source of additional income for families, while also housing low-income residents. Such a dynamic motivated me to purchase a property in my hometown of Detroit. My rental property maintains the local character of the neighborhood, provides affordable housing, and helps me, a native Detroiter, build wealth. My case is a success story. Unfortunately, it’s too rare. 

Often, Black and Latine heirs and inheritors of family properties, buckling under financial pressure, are enticed to sell their family properties to investors. The irony is this often happens when a city attempts positive neighborhood revitalization efforts. Families take what they see as their only sensible financial option: quick cash, at the expense of an asset that could accumulate far greater value over time, creating generational wealth.

Even for Black or Latine families determined to maintain ownership, obstacles such as  improper documentation or errors in the public record frequently lead to properties with tangled titles. They then sit unutilized until a family embarks on the costly and complicated journey to clear the title. 

Across the country, the cultural diversity of urban neighborhoods—which attracts buyers to them in the first place—is disappearing as a result of Black and Latine displacement. 

This is a national crisis, and the economic ramifications go beyond neighborhood demographic changes. The impact is also evidenced in the ownership gap, where white households hold 9.2 times the wealth of Black households and 5.1 times the wealth of Latine households. 

That’s why at UPD, we propose an innovative approach that cities can take to combat these inequities. 

Home for Good confronts multiple challenges to Black and Latine wealth accumulation by keeping properties within Black and Latine families and partnering these property owners with resources like Black and Latine-led property management companies that will rent their homes. The program will also serve as a source of affordable housing for communities that desperately need it. 

Because we can fix the future. But first we have to own it. 

To learn more, read about our program here.