First Twin Cities Diversity Homeownership Fair aims to reduce wealth gap – Star Tribune

For the first time, four groups of Twin Cities real estate agents are getting together to host an event that’s aimed at demystifying the homebuying process and reducing racial wealth gaps.

Called the Twin Cities Diversity Homeownership Fair, organizers said they aim to narrow the racial gap in homeownership.

“It’s up to us to get our boots on the ground and do the tough work of educating people and taking advantage of resources and making sure we’re opening the doors and providing every opportunity for people of color to buy homes in the Twin Cities,” said Cameron Perket, Twin Cities president of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, a Black trade group.

Owning a home is a key path to building wealth for most Americans since paying for property acts as a forced savings account with potential for appreciation.

Perket said the fair, which will be held at the Wellstone Center near the Downtown Airport in St. Paul, also brings action to the discussions about reducing economic disparities that surged in the Twin Cities business community after the 2020 police slaying of George Floyd.

The fair will feature five educational breakout sessions in English, Spanish and Hmong; free food truck meals for registered attendees; child care service; soccer clinics by the Sanneh Foundation; wellness checks by Minnesota Care Clinic and nearly 100 vendors.

For real estate professionals, there will be a course in unconscious bias approved by the state Department of Commerce for 2.5 credits of continuing education.

The other groups hosting the event are the Asian Real Estate Association of America Twin Cities, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Twin Cities and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance of Minnesota.

Households of color lag white household in home ownership in the Twin Cities and across Minnesota. Last month, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis released a study that found racial minorities in the Twin Cities remain far more likely than whites to be denied a mortgage.

Nationwide, the Black homeownership rate is about 43%. In Minnesota, it is just 25%.

Some of those disparities have been perpetuated by discriminatory practices of banks and developers. Decades ago, developers often used covenants to bar anyone who wasn’t white from owning or residing in the homes and neighborhoods they built.

The practice became illegal in Minnesota in 1962 but impacted generations by creating a segregated metro area and leading to persistent racial disparities in homeownership.

“The overall discrimination and racism is still woven into …….