A Black-White Housing Gap Persists, But One D.C. Woman Persevered And Won – NPR – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Tasharn Richardson’s 11-year-old son, Lionel, helps unload the moving truck at their new home in Washington, D.C. To Tasharn, having a house to call her own always seemed like someone else’s dream. Dee Dwyer for NPR hide caption

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Dee Dwyer for NPR

Tasharn Richardson’s 11-year-old son, Lionel, helps unload the moving truck at their new home in Washington, D.C. To Tasharn, having a house to call her own always seemed like someone else’s dream.

Dee Dwyer for NPR

Black and Hispanic families in the United States are far less likely than white families to own their own homes. It’s been that way for decades, but the gap is wider today than it was before passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

This has led to other racial disparities, such as the ability of families to build wealth or to get a good education.

But efforts are being made to close the gap, especially now that the pandemic appears to have exacerbated the divide.

Tasharn Richardson, of Washington, D.C., is among those who needed help to make that big leap from renting to homeownership.

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Until recently, the 42-year-old mother of 10 spent her entire life in public or government-subsidized housing. She and her husband, Lionel Richardson, were among the majority of Black families who rent. Only about 42 percent own their own homes.

It’s the opposite for white families. A majority — more than 72 percent – own their homes, rather than rent.

To Tasharn, having a house to call her own always seemed like someone else’s dream.

So it was with great joy that she recently unlocked the door to her own four-bedroom house. Her children squealed as they ran inside, checking out the freshly painted rooms and choosing which bedroom would be theirs.

But Tasharn only got to this point through a combination of sheer determination, luck and a great deal of financial aid. Her salary working for the D.C. government wasn’t enough to qualify for a mortgage, and her husband is unemployed. So she was able to secure more than $100,000 in down payment assistance — from the D.C. government and a foundation, called birdSEED — which helped whittle her payment down to a manageable $1,900 a month.

Tasharn worked with a financial coach provided by a local nonprofit, called A Wider Circle, where she learned about credit and having her finances in order to buy a house. Dee Dwyer for NPR hide caption

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Dee Dwyer for NPR

Tasharn worked with a financial coach provided by a local nonprofit, called A Wider Circle, where she learned about credit and having her finances in order to buy a house.

Dee Dwyer for NPR

She also worked with a financial coach provided by another local nonprofit, called A Wider Circle, and spent countless hours taking cla


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