MINNEAPOLIS – Black people in Minnesota are less likely to own a home than before the culmination of the Civil Rights Movement.
Minneapolis Area Realtors gathered Wednesday to issue an apology for the role their organization played for decades in creating housing inequality in the Twin Cities - from denying Black realtors membership, to denying Black buyers access to homes.
"These historic actions continue to cause barriers to homeownership today," said Carrie Chang, CEO of Minneapolis Area Realtors. "Twin Cities realtors perpetuated discriminatory covenants on properties, which effectively excluded Black people from buying homes in White neighborhoods."
Minneapolis Area Realtors say disparities exist for all people of color, but especially Black Minnesotans, whose home ownership rate is 50% less than White Minnesotans, and has only gotten worse since the 1950s.
Maurice Hudson just went through the home buying process, and says he felt pushback almost immediately.
"Just throughout the process, it made it feel like they were belittling me and making it seem like I'm not allowed to be in this position," Hudson said. "Looking at me like, 'Hey, a young Black man's looking to buy? It doesn't seem right.'"
As part of their apology, Minneapolis Area Realtors say they're making policy changes, including educating all incoming realtors about the gaps, and providing funding for more diverse realtors in the region.
"This is a culmination of realtors saying we need to do something, we understand our history and now we want to take a part in making things right," Chang said.
Hudson says working with realtors and other homebuyers of color made all the difference for him.
"Just shows that, you know, I can do it," Hudson said. "Seeing other people that look just like me and you is all the difference."
Minneapolis Area Realtors say they're also pushing lawmakers to create a Federal Downpayment Assistance Program to help first-time and first-generation homebuyers who may not have access to resources.
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