Detroit Regional Chamber > Closing Equity Gaps in Detroit > Gilbert Family Foundation: We Must Dismantle Systemic Disparities in Home Ownership

Gilbert Family Foundation: We Must Dismantle Systemic Disparities in Home Ownership

March 7, 2024

By Darnell Adams

Only 45% of Black Detroit city residents say they own their homes, compared to 59% of their white and 61% of their Hispanic counterparts in the city, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Resident Voices Survey Report.

Detroit Resident Voices Survey graphicThe disparity in homeownership rates among Black residents in one of America’s predominantly Black cities is a direct result of broken systems and policies, including decades of discriminatory lending practices, redlining, and a legacy of economic exclusion.

The Gilbert Family Foundation has launched programs – such as the Detroit Tax Relief Fund, Detroit Home Repair Fund, and the Detroit Eviction Defense Fund – to safeguard the homes and assets of vulnerable Detroiters. These initiatives have already benefited over 10,000 Detroit households. By protecting the assets of the city’s most vulnerable populations, these programs not only secure the living conditions of current and future Black homeowners but also ensure the safe transfer of assets to succeeding generations.

Furthermore, they mitigate the devastating effects of eviction — a scenario that disproportionately impacts Black families more than their white and Hispanic counterparts — preventing the loss of both homes and essential personal belongings. Such evictions often set families back significantly, making the path to homeownership even more challenging.

A Black couple holding their child while smiling and wavingWe must maintain a firm stance against the systemic barriers that perpetuate racial disparities in homeownership, pushing for policies that address both the symptoms and the root causes of these issues. These systems, constructed intentionally to disadvantage certain groups, can and must be dismantled with intentionality as well. This means:

  • Pushing for real changes in how loans are given out.
  • Making sure fair housing laws are more than just words on paper.
  • Creating targeted programs that make homeownership a reality for Black Americans.

Highlighting the racial aspects of the homeownership gap is essential, as it demands the systemic changes necessary to create a more equitable Detroit where one’s skin color does not limit one’s economic potential.

Darnell Adams

Darnell Adams

Darnell Adams is Vice President of Detroit Community Initiatives for the Gilbert Family Foundation. The Detroit Resident Voices Survey Report highlights Detroiters’ daily experiences and perceptions and elevates issues that are central to their quality of life.

Released by the Detroit Regional Chamber and Gallup Center on Black Voices, the survey report provides insights that can be used in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop new programs and initiatives to identify and close racial equity gaps. It is part of the Chamber’s Racial Justice and Economic Equity Initiative.