For many Americans, the dream of owning a home – often considered the best way to build wealth in this country – is increasingly out of reach and unaffordable. In Kansas City, for many residents, this is the reality. While over 50% of Kansas City residents own their homes, there is a prevalent gap between white and minority homeownership. Just 44% of minority households in the metro own a home, and Black homeownership over the last decade has dropped from 45% to 37%, among the highest decreases in the county. Despite interest in homeownership remaining strong (almost half of renters in Kansas City say they are interested in becoming a homeowner), more than two-thirds of those who are interested say that they still face barriers to homeownership, including access to down payments and issues with access to credit.
With this in mind, Kansas City seeks to adapt its housing and homeownership portfolio and better empower residents to become new homeowners, creating new avenues of access to purchasing a home. Kansas City will partner with FUSE Corps to design and institutionalize an action-oriented strategic plan for homeownership in the city. The FUSE Executive Fellow will work across providers to map all of Kansas City’s homeownership programs and resources; engage communities directly, primarily those in Black, low-to-middle-income, and immigrant neighborhoods, to assess their needs and desires; and detail the public-private partnerships and processes needed for scaling and piloting innovative renter-to-homeowner models. This comprehensive response by the city to provide sustainable homeownership options will enable Kansas City residents to gain opportunities for upward mobility through their housing.