Shedding light on housing discrimination in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Discrimination among homeowners is a topic local advocates say is not often addressed. One local non-profit is working hard to raise the percentage of minority homeowners and believes it starts with transparency and education.

"It's this history of discrimination that has left them with such few resources for them even to enter the housing market," said Dr. Amber Crowell, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Fresno State.

Housing Discrimination toward minorities in Fresno County is a topic Dr. Amber Crowell says dates back decades.

"Neighborhoods, where black people and people of Mexican origin lived, were marked as the most hazardous places for new loans from the federal government and so that really blocked people of color from being able to buy homes," she said.

Dr. Crowell says that's one of many reasons Fresno is zoned the way it is now when it comes to the location of homes and the ethnic diversity of the owners.

Currently, only 22% of homeowners are black, and one local chapter has been working tirelessly since 2019 to raise that number.

"Our hope is that every African American in this Fresno community has the ability to get a home," said Lionel Akpovi, President of Realtist of Fresno County.

The Realist of Fresno County has been at the forefront, educating and advising families who need guidance and motivation to become homeowners.

"When you have folks who look like you or who know your story, it makes you feel more comfortable because you know you are going to be taken care of, " said Aisha Allen, Second Vice President.

The organization has hosted legislative events where they bring in speakers like Dr. Crowell to highlight issues not often discussed and believe anyone should have a fair shot at becoming a homeowner, but it takes work.

"Make sure you are aware of who your politicians are, what they are doing and be a part of that because that is the way for change, " said Akpovi.

Which is why their mission is to help folks become a part of the change for the better of the community.

"We want to keep going in the right direction by exposing the issues we have so we can fix them," said Allen.

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