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With homeownership being one of the few asset building tools available to the common man, it has been said to have “potential anti-poverty effects.” When looking at our communities that have been stricken with poverty, homeownership seems to be non-existent or has a seemingly unlimited obstacle to make it reality.Though there has been a great effort in increasing homeownership and a sizable increase in low-income families owning homes in recent years, we must examine if the “anti-poverty effects” of homeownership are taking root in reality.
The key to homeownership being an asset builder and social force is not only finding ways for low-income families to obtain homes, but to find ways for families to sustain homeownership.
If we can increase homeownership, families have the greatest potential to build assets and narrow the wealth gap.
However, homeownerships benefits go far beyond the potential of building wealth and assets but include far reaching social benefits as well.
Unfortunately in the American urban context, high concentration of ethnic minorities and poverty in communities are intimately connected.
Without going into intricate detail we can understand these communities as facing the familiar problems of impoverished communities from poor education to social disorder to unfair zoning.
Owning a home can be the only source of wealth or assets that low-income families can realistically grab ahold of.
Assets are those things beyond income that can provide financial cushion, buying power and potential wealth in the future upon sale.The increased community involvement, according to many scholars and researchers, can have quite a significant effect on families and communities well into the future.One of the ways we can see this measured is through comparing child outcomes both behaviorally and educationally.North Chicago and Waukegan Illinois fit the case study role of two intertwined communities that have been plagued by poverty and its affects.When looking at the average household in North Chicago, their yearly income is ,986 with Waukegan coming in slightly higher at ,924. There is also great ethic segregation as compared to the rest of lake county with North Chicago being 43.3% Black, 42.9% Hispanic, 9.5% White and Waukegan being 53.4% Hispanic, 21.7% White, and 18.2% Black. Compare this to the total breakdown of Lake Country being 75.09% White, 6.9% Black, and 19.9% from Hispanic or Latino origin.Overall, they found that homeowners typically had higher quality environments for children as compared to those renting.