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September 21, 2022

SDHC Receives $7.5 Million Wells Fargo Foundation Grant for Collaboration to Increase Homeownership Opportunities for People of Color

Wealth Opportunities Restored through Homeownership (WORTH) Grant will help approximately 5,000 homebuyers of color through 2025

Wells Fargo WORTH Group 01

SAN DIEGO, CA — An expanded effort to help more people of color in the San Diego region become homeowners is launching today with the support of a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. The grant was awarded to the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC), part of the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative.

“Homeownership is more than having a place to live – it opens the door to self-investment, community building, and generational wealth. For communities of color, the housing crisis has been compounded by decades of discriminatory policies designed to exclude them from access to housing capital, financing, and ownership opportunities. Innovative programs and public-private partnerships, such as the WORTH grant, are crucial in tackling these issues,” said California State Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-39).

Homeownership rates for many households of color are significantly lower than other racial groups. For example, an SDHC-commissioned Urban Institute study of City of San Diego households confirmed homeownership rates of 29.1% among Black households and 35.2% among Latino households, compared with 54.8% among White households.

“I’m incredibly grateful to Wells Fargo for dedicating funding so that more San Diego families have the opportunity to purchase a home,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “Public-private partnerships like these help us address the root causes of inequity. This funding will change the lives of 5,000 families of color in our community, helping put homeownership within reach at a time when it’s more crucial than ever.”

The San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force (RTF) will lead the implementation of the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative’s strategies throughout the San Diego region.

“Systemic inequities and racist historical practices have prevented families of color from achieving their homeownership and wealth-building goals for too long,” said Council President pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe, who introduced a proclamation that the City Council approved to declare September 21 “Homeowner Equity Day” in the City of San Diego. “I’m thrilled that the Wells Fargo WORTH grant gives San Diego an opportunity to decrease the equity gap and increase access to homeownership for new homebuyers of color.”

“I am thrilled that the San Diego City/County Reinvestment Task Force will be receiving the Wells Fargo WORTH grant,” shared County of San Diego Supervisor Joel Anderson, who serves as a co-chair for the RTF. “This opportunity will empower the RTF to significantly support homeownership and generational wealth building in low-income communities of San Diego County.”

SDHC provides staff support for RTF and administers first-time homebuyer programs for the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, and the cities of Chula Vista and El Cajon.

“The WORTH grant gives us a historic opportunity to put more people of color countywide on a path to the pride of homeownership, achievement of financial security, and creation of a legacy they can pass to their children,” SDHC Chair of the Board Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell said. “The leadership of City Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe and County Supervisor Joel Anderson and the collaboration among many organizations united in this effort have made this opportunity possible.”

The grant to SDHC comes from Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. San Diego is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant. SDHC and RTF are among the organizations in the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative, which will work to help create 5,000 new homeowners of color in San Diego County by the end of 2025.

“As a company, we’re committed to putting homeownership in reach for more families of color,” said Otis Rolley, Wells Fargo’s head of Social Impact and President of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “We recognize the need for deliberate intervention from the public and private sectors to address the homeownership equity gap. We look forward to working with the collaborative to accelerate actions and foster greater homeownership, wealth and opportunity in San Diego.”

Services and resources for homebuyers of color will be developed, such as credit counseling, down payment assistance and homeownership navigators. These will expand on the resources that are currently available to help more first-time and first-generation homebuyers. A list of current resources that are available to potential homebuyers, which will be updated, is available on SDHC’s website at

“MAAC is proud to work with the collaborative, supported by the Wells Fargo grant, to increase the number of individuals and families moving into homeownership. This grant enables us to strengthen and expand the services and assistance that the collaborative’s participants provide to make homeownership possible for more people of color. We are ensuring equitable access to housing for communities throughout San Diego County,” said Arnulfo Manriquez, President and Chief Executive Officer of MAAC.

Strategies for San Diego

By the end of 2025, the WORTH grant will support development of programs to implement the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative’s strategies:

  • Preparation: Prepare a pipeline of eligible buyers of color by expanding debt reduction, credit repair, and credit score improvement programs and counseling; creating homeownership navigators, mentors, community educators and support groups; and launching a virtual Homeownership Center. This center will be a one-stop resource for homebuyers to use at any point along their journey to access information, connect to trusted and trained counselors and advisors, and be referred for services based on an online assessment of their homeownership and mortgage readiness.
  • Products: Expand availability of down payment assistance and low-cost mortgage products and programs that address gaps in racial wealth and access to financial services.
  • Partners: Expand connections to trained and qualified professionals by establishing a certification process to accredit, train, and provide continuing education to real estate professionals and other partners in the collaborative’s referral network.
  • Policy: Expand research, incentives, and policy reforms that lead to an increase in housing supply in the San Diego market.

The San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative consists of 16 organizations. The Executive Committee comprises: the RTF, SDHC, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Logan Heights Community Development Corporation, MAAC, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), San Diego Housing Federation and Urban League of San Diego County. Additional organizations in the collaborative are: Casa Familiar, Chicano Federation, Civic Communities,, Habitat for Humanity, International Rescue Committee (IRC) San Diego and the San Diego Family Asset-Building Coalition.

Homeownership Gap

According to the Urban Institute study that SDHC commissioned, Latino households represented 19.1% of all households in San Diego, but only 13.6% of all homeowner households. Black households accounted for 6.1% of all San Diego households, but only 3.6% of all homeowner households in the City of San Diego.

Nationwide, the Urban Institute estimates that without action, over the next 20 years, Black homeownership will continue to decline, and Hispanic homeownership will experience only slight increases. Gaps in homeownership rates contribute to differences in wealth among households. According to a Federal Reserve bulletin based on the Survey of Consumer Finances, the median net worth for a White family, which is $188,200, was approximately five times higher than for a Hispanic family, which is $36,100, and nearly eight times higher than for a Black family, which is $24,100. According to Urban Institute, home equity represents approximately 60% of total net worth for Black homeowners, compared with 43% for White homeowners. Homeownership provides households an asset that grows in value, can help pay educational expenses, may be used to help family members buy their own homes, or provides an inheritance for the next generation.

Wells Fargo is working to increase racial equity in homeownership. Nationally, WORTH aims to help create 40,000 new homeowners of color by the end of 2025. Wells Fargo’s $40 million Growing Diverse Housing Developers program is also working to expand housing inventory in communities of color, among other initiatives. The company also recently launched a Special Purpose Credit Program to help eligible minority homeowners whose mortgages are serviced by Wells Fargo lower their interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

Additional Comments

What San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative Executive Committee organizations are saying:

“LISC San Diego is honored to be a part of such an incredible group of nonprofit and government partners ensuring that affordable homeownership is a reality across San Diego County for BIPOC families through the Wells Fargo’s WORTH grant,” said Ricardo Flores, Executive Director, LISC San Diego.

“Greater Logan Heights residents now have an opportunity to strengthen their community through homeownership thanks to the San Diego Homeownership Equity Collaborative’s efforts and Wells Fargo’s WORTH grant,” said Monte A. Jones, CEO, Logan Heights Community Development Corporation representative.

“NAHREP will leverage the resources from this initiative to continue to educate real estate professionals to advance and grow sustainable homeownership among Hispanic households in San Diego,” said Cathy Martinez, NAHREP San Diego – Governments Affairs Director/National Advocacy Committee Member.

“The additional resources available through this initiative will help the NAREB San Diego ‘Realtist’ community of real estate professionals, as they work tirelessly to overcome profound racial inequities in homeownership for people of color,” said Darren Huston, NAREB San Diego Chapter President.

“Increasing the supply of available housing is an important part of the collaborative efforts to expand homeownership opportunities. Wells Fargo’s WORTH grant will help efforts to expand research, incentives and policy reforms to address this important issue,” said Stephen Russell, President & CEO, San Diego Housing Federation.

“A home is not a luxury; it is an essential human right. Unfortunately, the current economic climate has created a housing insecurity crisis that affects thousands. Through programs like this, we can see opportunities for the most vulnerable of us to achieve housing stability and security,” said Ray King, President and CEO, Urban League of San Diego County.

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Media Contact: 

Scott Marshall

Vice President of Communications

San Diego Housing Commission


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