Homeownership & Wealth

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Housing inequality is one of the most significant challenges facing future generations of Americans. The average homeowner in America has a net worth 36 times greater than the average renter. My senior project sought to illuminate the forgotten causes of this disparity and consisted of two distinct parts. First, I conducted a policy analysis reaching back to the 1920’s that identified and documented deliberate and explicit federal, state, and local policies blocking minority groups from homeownership. This analysis resulted in a cohesive narrative spanning 100 years of race-related exclusion in housing. Second, I studied potential solutions that would actively narrow the wealth gap between property owners and those denied access. After months of research I concluded that more than any other option, Community Land Trusts (CLTs) best balance the need for decent, dignified housing with the wealth accumulation benefits of homeownership for lower income people. Equipped with my historical narrative of inequality and deep appreciation for the benefits of CLTs I intend to help create the East King County Community Land Trust. The EKCCLT will offer homeownership opportunities to low-income people in wealthy suburbs of Seattle, east of Lake Washington.