MARYLAND – Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen has introduced a new bill in the United States Senate to help first-generation homeowners with their mortgage payments.
The LIFT program would allow first generation homeowners who are in the 120% range or below median income levels in their communities to apply for federally subsidized 20-year special mortgages for monthly payments below those of the traditional 30 years. year round fixed rate mortgages.
Co-sponsors of the bill, including Georgian Senator Jon Ossof, said the bill would help close the wealth gap between black and white families in the United States, by making it easier for black families to join. to property, the cornerstone of wealth creation and personal financial good. -being.
Housing advocates, including former Dover NAACP chairman La Mar Gunn, told 47ABC that housing discrimination in the form of a historic red line played a significant role in creating the The wealth gap, due to the number of factors that depend on the value of the home, including the quality of the school district, loan eligibility and credit rating.
“Unemployment, delinquency, reoffend all the things that put the dark America at the top of every bad category and at the bottom of every good category comes down to things like homeownership, ”Gunn said.
Gunn currently operates Gunn Wealth Management, a Delaware financial services company that focuses on building financial literacy for the black community with the goal of helping more people be able to buy homes and others. important assets.
Gunn told 47ABC he was encouraged by the LIFT program, but was concerned that a key element of discrimination that traditionally prevented black families from owning homeownership was not addressed in legislation.
“Based on certain areas, Social Security and credit score allow banks to deny loans and target African American families,” he said, adding “the huge down payments people have to make. on a mortgage you could give them a 5 year loan with the 30 year payments, but if people can’t make those huge down payments then we’re still in this system of poverty, ”he said. .
He says that while the program will help, he believes more needs to be done to help the priorities of the housing market in communities that do not charge low-income families.
Gunn believes that if banks continue to ask questions about financial portfolios when applying, discrimination against black loan seekers will continue.