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Homeownership 101 courses aim to build generational wealth

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana leads the Midwest in the lack of access to affordable housing, so many people are advocating homeownership to address to problem.

The nonprofit Renew Indianapolis, in partnership with community organizations, is continuing its free Homeownership 101 courses.

Homeownership is one of the biggest ways to build generational wealth. But for generations, Black and other minority communities haven’t had equitable access. Organizers hope by holding these Homeowner 101 courses that some of the fear will be taken out of the home-buying process.

Gary Franklin moved into his home in 1949 in the Martindale Brightwood neighborhood. Back then, getting a loan for Black people was hard. By the 1960s and 1970s, the process was easier but even then, he says, Black people had only one place to go.

Today, barriers still exist.

Franklin said, “Take it serious because it’s going to get rougher. It’s going to be rougher, and these young folks are not aware of that. Everybody wants to rent.”

Last fall, Renew Indianapolis partnered with agencies including the Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corp., the Community Alliance of the Far East Side, and the Edna Martin Christian Center to provide the Homeownership 101 courses.

Ben Harris, a Homeownership 101 instructor, said, “We are all about generational wealth building, and a lot of people don’t think about that because of the fear take over in homeownership.”

Harris says the goal is to provide educational tools when it comes to building credit, how it factors into accessing home loans, and other components needed to become a homeowner. “What I say in the first class is knowledge is power, and that’s what we want.”

On top of the homeownership courses, Renew Indianapolis is rehabbing and building roughly 30 homes in predominately Black communities with the hope that people who go through the courses would turn around and buy them.

“We want folks to do that to understand the power of it, to do that for their families to start building that generational wealth,” Harris said.

Franklin says homeownership is a worthwhile process, and he’ll continue to fend off people looking to buy the property until he passes it on to another in his family. “I think it’s important I think it’s very important.”

New, virtual sessions of the Homeownership 101 courses will begin in June.