CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited housing discrimination but according to an article published by 'Today's Homeowner,' Black homeownership rates are the same as they were 50 years ago.
3NEWS spoke with a local real estate agent with Safe Harbor Real Estate to get her take on what selling houses looks like here in the Coastal Bend.
Sheila Johnson has been a real estate agent since 2016. She's sold dozens of homes, but one detail she's recognized living here in the Coastal Bend is that African Americans only make up about ten percent of her clientele.
"My grandparents were homeowners," Johnson said. "They owned property. My father the same, he owned property, and so it was an expectation."
Johnson said knowledge is power when it comes to one of the largest investments someone can make.
"It's very significant I think to put that information in the hands of those who are in the position to begin the process of purchasing now as well as younger people." She adds.
Johnson helps buyers learn about the programs available to them. She explained, "Without having the knowledge of what it is that's necessary, it's going to be virtually impossible for individuals to figure it out on their own."
Shelena and Jimmie Arceneaux are past clients of Sheila Johnson. "I think that is some of the barriers that we have as African Americans when it comes to buying homes, not knowing that you can, or the finance to buy it," Shelena said.
Sometimes, the lack of exposure to homeownership at a young age, is enough to inspire people to own a home of their own.
"From looking at my parents renting, looking at my grandmother who was renting. There was no one other than myself and my first cousins who had the opportunity to buy their own homes," Jimmie said.
The Arceneaux's have been homeowners for 15 years.
"We can't say just because this person is this color, or this person's that color, don't look at that. Look at yourself, and say, you know what, if they can do it, then I can do it as well," Jimmie said.
One of Johnson's takeaways is that homeownership is an indication of wealth in a community.
Johnson told 3NEWS, "Understanding that home ownership in the long run will actually be of more benefit. Because you're able to build equity in a home. So, you are establishing wealth."
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