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'That’s my dream': Urban League's State of Black KC report reveals slight decline in Black homeownership

Michelle Barnes
Posted at 5:56 PM, Nov 09, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 09:48:57-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo — A recent report from the National Association of Realtors revealed this is the largest gap of home ownership in a decade.

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It's something the Urban League of Greater Kansas City is taking a closer look at in its annual State of Black Kansas City report.

Michelle Barnes knows ownership of anything is an investment.

"That's my desire, that's my dream," said Barnes, a renter in Kansas City, Kansas.

Barnes doesn't shy away from telling her age in the conversation about her journey to becoming a home buyer.

"I'm 69, I'll be 70 in January, lord let me live," Barnes said.

She is among a large percentage of Black households in the Kansas City area who rent.

In the Urban League's 260-page report, it mentions less than 50% of Black households own a home.

In fact, according to the report, the rate of Black home ownership has declined by 2.5% in the past couple of years.

"It's like you're being caught between a rock and a hard place, as I always say," Barnes said. "There are new developments coming up, but they're not geared toward home ownership for low income people."

Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a realtor with ReeceNichols, said it's layered and adding to a low rate of Black home ownership, is a low inventory of housing in the KC-area.

"I think the barriers are across the board," Johnson-Cosby said. "If you don't have the cash or credit, you won't qualify for a loan."

As someone who has owned before, Barnes said money management can sometimes be a barrier, too.

"My mother used to always tell us live like the Jones, stop trying to live like the Jones,'" she said.

Johnson-Cosby said there's also lack of education in our communities on home-buyer programs that can meet potential owners where they are.

"So many people don't have hope or the knowledge they can buy a home," she said. "They need to know it is an option for them. Only 42-43% of Black families across the nation own a home."

The statistics aren't a deterrent for Barnes, in fact, home ownership is a dream she plans on making a reality sooner than later.

"That's the route that I'm going," she said. "Maybe I'll come back and tell you guys and invite you to my home."