CLEVELAND — Beginning this weekend, Cleveland will play host to hundreds of real estate agents as part of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers convention.
The trade organization represents minority professionals in the real estate industry dedicated to leveling the playing field for home buyers.
Taking the reins of this national organization is one of our own: Lydia Pope of Cleveland-based E & D Realty & Investment Co, Inc.
A leading issue for Pope will be addressing the Black homeownership rate nationwide and the wealth gap it creates.
U.S. Census data over the years shows a stagnant Black home ownership rate, currently sitting at 45.1%, compared to 73.8% among Caucasians.
“That 45.1 is about the same number as it was back in 1969 when the Fair Housing law first passed,” Pope explained. “In the 23 years I've been doing real estate, it hasn’t changed. I still see the challenges with down payment assistance. I still see the same challenges as 23 years ago.”
Going forward, Pope sees what’s happening in Northeast Ohio's real estate market mirroring the rest of the country and plans to advocate for more accessible down payment assistance programs, addressing appraisal challenges and other barriers such as student loan debt to the African American community.
“Home ownership matters,” she emphasized. “Buying land is the biggest asset anyone can ever have.”
Just last month, former Congresswoman Marcia Fudge returned to her old district to address Black homeownership, now in her role as Housing and Urban Development Secretary, with a goal of increasing Black homeownership by 3 million by the year 2030.
The convention will take place at the Cleveland Hilton Downtown Hotel, 100 Lakeside Ave. East from July 24-28, 2021.