The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Gentrification, and Resources for Change

 

“African American testers posing as home buyers were often denied information about special incentives that would have made the purchase easier, and were required to produce loan preapproval letters and other documents when whites were not.”

–“The ‘Heartbreaking’ Decrease in Black Home Ownership,” Washington Post, February 28, 2019

I saw The Last Black Man in San Francisco yesterday, and, honestly, it took me a few hours to process, in silence. I found myself lost for words at the number of similarities the plot shared with my own life. Jimmy Fails is the main character in the movie—and he plays himself. Like Fails, my family lost our childhood Victorian home. Unlike Fails, we lost ours to foreclosure when I was 17. 

There’s no feeling more soul-shaking than having your safety net ripped from underneath you. Watching Jimmie Fails whip around the banister of his old home in the movie made me think of mine—what it would be like to explore my old house from an older perspective, joyfully and carefree. 

This movie speaks volumes on the heartbreaking decline in Black homeownership. Real estate agencies don’t care about us. Banks don’t care about us. They don’t care about the lengths we have to go to buy and keep our homes and neighborhoods ours. On that note, if you haven’t seen The Last Black Man In San Francisco, I highly recommend you do. 

Below is a list of articles that speak to the decline of Black homeownership, as well as foreclosure recovery and gentrification more broadly. I have also included information on programs that help Black families who are buying a home for the first time.

Losing my home was the first time I realized that life is ever-changing. You can’t always control what happens, but you can take charge of where you go from there.

Articles

The ‘Heartbreaking’ Decrease in Black Homeownership

Home buying while Black

The Neighborhood Is Mostly Black. The Home Buyers Are Mostly White.

Why Blacks and Hispanics Have Such Expensive Mortgages

Higher rates of foreclosure follow black homeowners into white areas

Resources

Down Payment Assistance Programs

Homeownership Preservation Foundation

Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Network

Philadelphia-Specific Resources

Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania

Ongoing First-Time Homebuyer Workshop

Division of Housing and Community Development

 

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