Studies indicate the foreclosure crisis and its community-debilitating aftereffects are having a disproportionate impact on minorities and minority-owned real estate businesses across the nation.[IMAGE]
The ""National Association of Real Estate Brokers"":http://www.nareb.com (NAREB), the oldest African American trade association of real estate business owners and professionals in the country, has positioned itself alongside members of Congress, minority businesses, and granting agencies like the Salvation Army to face this challenge head-on and help minority homeowners deal with the devastating effects of foreclosures and blight in their neighborhoods.
NAREB is hosting the ""State of Housing in Black America Issues Forum"" (""SHIBA"":http://www.narebshiba.com) on Wednesday, May 2. The public is invited to join and learn more about the challenges facing minorities in today's housing environment as well as viable solutions, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the campus of Howard University (Cramton Auditorium, 2455 Sixth Street, N.W.). The event is free to attend.
Two prominent federal lawmakers are showing their support for the cause with special appearances to address the crowd. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Maryland), ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, is the featured guest speaker, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia), ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, will deliver opening remarks.
The forum will feature interactive panel discussions with industry professionals and experts from the housing industry as well as local and national community leaders who will provide analysis of research data, along with possible solutions, as they relate to foreclosure mitigation, contending with neighborhood blight, and disaster recovery.[COLUMN_BREAK]
Rep. Cumming's presentation, ""The Local Landscape,"" will provide a perspective on the homeownership and foreclosure crisis in Black communities situated in the local D.C. area.
""NAREB has seen the impact of Congress, especially the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, on homeownership solutions in the past,"" said Julius Cartwright, president of NAREB. ""We recognize the importance of providing Congress with accurate and detailed information and recommendations on how to improve housing conditions in not only low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, but the surrounding communities as well.""
Cartwright notes that the mortgage fallout has required federal intervention and private sector participation, and capital from both sides. However, ""many solutions have not been effective enough to deal with what is really happening Ã¢â‚¬" especially in minority communities,"" according to Cartwright. ""It is integral to NAREB's efforts, and in the best interest of our nation, that all of us work together on this,"" he said.
NAREB is currently involved in analyzing federal housing programs and regulations, collecting data from its nationwide network of minority real estate professionals and businesses, creating jobs through its member businesses, and developing market-oriented, privately capitalized recommendations and programs. In February, the organization announced its Homeowner's Assurance Program (HAP), which involves the deployment of capital to purchase, renovate, and resell REO properties while generating jobs and income for real estate-related small businesses in targeted markets.
When initially announced, HAP was billed as a $1.2 billion program. Already, it's brought in enough additional support to increase funding to $1.8 billion. HAP is one of the key highlights of NAREB's forum Wednesday.
""Our recommendations go beyond the current designs which do not factor in the social and economic dynamics and strengths of our communities,"" commented Lawrence Batiste, chairman of NAREB. ""The State of Housing in Black America Issues Forum is one of the vehicles NAREB uses to put information and recommendations into the hands of our congressional representatives, so that they can help our communities.""
This is the third in a series of five forums being hosted by NAREB across the country. Previous forums were held in New Orleans and Atlanta. The remaining two forums will take place this year in Cleveland (August) and Houston (November).