It's time to close racial gaps in housing

Updated: Oct 31

People of color frequently experience worse housing outcomes in Greater Des Moines than the community as a whole.


But new partnerships are coming together to narrow the gap in areas where it persists, like homeownership.


Like so many communities, Greater Des Moines has work to do to overcome historic housing discrimination like we chronicled in our Redlining in Des Moines online experience.


The consequences persist: Iowa’s rates of Black and Latinx homeownership rates are lower than the national average, according to a report the Iowa Association of Realtors commissioned.

  • 18.6 points lower for Black Iowans versus nationally

  • 9.6 points lower for Latinx Iowans versus nationally

A group of financial institutions, real estate professionals, community organizations and others have gathered to work on this challenge. The effort is convened as part of the One Economy project.


One promising local program to boost Black homeownership in response to that work is Journey to Homeownership by our colleagues at Neighborhood Finance Corporation.


Other organizations and financial institutions are also stepping up to improve their efforts. Nationally, an effort called 3 by 30 is working to create 3 million new Black homeowners by 2030.


On the local scene, another compelling effort is the Iowa Latinx Project which last year released the report Nuestro Iowa (Our Iowa) detailing "statistics and stories from the Central Iowa Latino community" including on housing.


What do all of these efforts have in common?

  • First, they rely on cross-sector partnerships - with stakeholders from the community and government joining business leaders in the housing, real estate, and lending sectors (and beyond).

  • And second, they focus on digging deep to create systems to support equitable prosperity.

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund is committed to supporting, learning, and growing within these efforts to enhance housing opportunities for for everyone in Greater Des Moines. Sign up to stay informed about our work.


One more thing: The image for this post on social media shows data from the National Equity Atlas, which is useful source of information on racial and economic equity.