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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL)

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House Housing Committee advances Rep. Agbaje’s Build Wealth MN legislation

Friday, March 10, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - On Wednesday March 8, House Housing Finance and Policy Committee heard legislation chief authored by Representative Esther Agbaje (DFL-Minneapolis). The bill, HF 918, will establish a family stabilization plan and program for home financing assistance to households in underserved communities of color through Build Wealth MN (BWM). 

“Historically, people from BIPOC and marginalized communities, have experienced structural and systemic racism in the housing market,” said Rep. Agbaje. “The disproportionate effects of redlining, gentrification, and displacement have caused significant barriers to housing stability for many families in the BIPOC community. Families need foundational tools and resources to gain financial literacy and to make informed decisions on their pursuit of homeownership. Without adequate services, families will continue to be victims of a system that was created to keep them unsheltered in a dignified home to raise their family and establish the beginnings of generational wealth.”  

BWM originated in June 2004 as a financial literacy, credit awareness, homebuyer education, jobs, and training resource organization. BWM’s mission is to promote sustainable social and economic wealth creation in underserved communities. The organization carries out its mission through education initiatives and by directing families to down payment assistance, closing cost programs, career development, and other social service resources.

The bill establishes the 9,000 Equities Fund, a targeted loan pool providing affordable first mortgages or equivalent financing opportunities to households struggling to access mortgages in underserved communities of color with a goal of closing the homeownership gap by 15% over the next five to seven years. 

Since its inception, BWM has established a broad range of nonprofit, social service, private and government partners including Bremer Bank, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Emerge Minnesota, Wilder Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Minneapolis Urban League, Minnesota Housing (MHFA), and the Minnesota Homeownership Center. Through these partnerships and with a strong network of private donors and supporters, BWM has helped hundreds of families attain financial stability and sustainable homeownership.     

You can watch the presentation and testimony of the bill here