There is an enormous disparity between the wealth of Black and white Americans. According to the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, the median white household has a net worth of $171,000, 10 times the net worth of the median Black household, $17,100.
In Chicagoland Metro, 44% of black families own homes compared to 73% of white families. In Woodlawn, only 24% of the predominantly black community own their homes, while 76% rent.
For families that own their homes but owe back taxes, Sunshine is able to help pay the back taxes in order to bring them current and not face losing their home. In November of 2021, we were able to assist 12 families with paying their property taxes that were in arrears from 2018. We will continue this effort in 2022.
Working with community partners, we offer mortgage and financial literacy building classes and assistance with down payment for homes. Additionally, we are working with a builder to begin construction on 8-flat condo units that would occupy vacant land within our community. We target raising funds for the construction to bring down the cost of the units, making them affordable as prices are inflated and the neighborhood is experiencing displacement of long-term residents due to this inflation. Additionally, we look to purchase existing homes to rehab them so residents can purchase them.
There are currently several vacant properties in the Woodlawn community. Even though home prices remain inflated, the community still has a number of boarded up homes and land that sits empty. Through our efforts to rehabilitate existing homes as well as build affordable housing on current land, we are investing in the long-term viability of the neighborhood.
Executive Director, Sunshine Gospel Ministries