Several years ago, Shanta Patton was a single mother of three struggling to purchase a home. A poor credit history coupled with income fluctuations made it difficult even to rent an apartment. But with the help of a friend and a Nevada grant for new homebuyers, Patton could purchase a home for her family.
“I started using resources that I knew were out there, but never once thought it was for me,” Patton told The Nevada Independent. “I’ve never had relief like that until I moved my kids into a home that was ours that we wouldn’t have to ever move out of unless we chose to do that.
Today, Patton is a realtor and certified HUD housing counselor on a mission to support Black residents in the Las Vegas area to become homeowners. As a public-private partnership between the real estate company Homie and several local organizations, the mission is simple: support 25,000 Black families to become homeowners within the next ten years. She is working with The Las Vegas Coalition to Make Homes Possible.
Homie, which has a significant presence in the Las Vegas area, wanted to identify ways of supporting homeownership in the Black community and reached out to Patton.
“I grilled them for at least the first 30 days, looking for the holes,” Patton said. “I’ve been in this community almost my whole life. [Community members] know me, and they trust me, and whatever we say we’re going to do, that’s exactly what we are going to do.”
The homeownership gap in Las Vegas reflects the most recent U.S. Census Data–42 percent of Black American residents are homeowners compared to 70 percent of white residents. But Patton believes that she can help close the homeownership gap in Las Vegas with the right access.
In Las Vegas, like many other places in the country, the reason for the homeownership gap can be tied to historical discriminatory housing and lending policies. Patton is aware of the historical and current barriers that keep Black residents in Las Vegas from becoming homebuyers. Present obstacles to homeownership include no access to the down payment and closing costs, poor credit, a lack of understanding of the importance of financial literacy, and the home buying process.
The organization’s leaders established a ten-year goal because its focus is on achieving generational wealth — not just purchasing a home. “Homeownership and buying property is a long game,” she said.