SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — In just its first year, the San Diego Black Homebuyers Program helped 30 families achieve the dream of home-ownership, even as home prices skyrocketed and interest rates climbed.
The program launched in August of 2021, thanks to around $1.3 million in donations and support from the San Diego Foundation, LISC, the Urban League, and San Diego County.
That money helped provide $40,000 grants to families for down payment assistance. It also helped guide first-time home buyers throughout the process by connecting them with realtors, lenders, and educational programs.
"It's critical," says Pamela Gray Payton, the VP of the San Diego Foundation. "(This program) is what is making the difference between dreaming and actually becoming home buyers."
The program focused on Black families because of the disparity between home ownership between white and black people in San Diego. According to the Foundation, 61% of white families in San Diego owns their home. That number is only 30% among Black families.
A recent report by the National Association of Realtors found, San Diego's racial home ownership divide is larger than the U.S. and the state of California. Nationwide, the study found 72% of white families own homes, while only 43% of Black families own homes. In California, it's 62% for white families and 37% for Black families.
"Black families for generations have been locked out of home ownership, by the system. And we hope that this gives people a window of hope," says Gray Payton. "We know that home ownership is an important tool in helping people really create wealth opportunities to pass on to future generations."
For Liz and Josh Riley, the program made home ownership a short-term goal instead of a long-term dream.
"That's really what kind of jump started everything for us and changed the game from a year or two down the road to where we can start looking for a home next week," says Liz Riley.
Now, they're excited to welcome a new baby girl into a new home. Their daughter, Roya, is due before the end of the month.
"It was always a dream of mine, a dream of ours to own a home," says Liz. "And the fact that's it's a place we can grow into, so once (Roya) is here, we don't have to move again. that was one of the best things about it."
Gray Payton says they'd like to continue the program for years to come, but funding is running short. They're hoping more people and organizations can come forward with donations to help more black families find a way to Make it in San Diego.