Sister Spokesman presents “Keys to Homeownership” (photos/video)

(l-r) Panelists Shawna Frazier, Cheryl Rice, Marie Martin and Dan Gerl (Olivia Crutchfield/MSR News)

Recent data from the Urban Institute shows that racial disparity in homeownership rates are highest in the Northeast and Midwest, with Minneapolis claiming the biggest divide — a whopping 50 percent difference between Black and White homeownership rates.  Panelists at Sister Spokesman’s “Keys to Homeownership” on May 5 spoke on such disparities and offered information and resources for first-time homebuyers.

The panel consisted of Shawna Frazier of Real Max Results; Cheryl Rice, a representative of Minnesota Housing; and Marie Martin of Martin & Hedervare PLLC. Dan Gerl, a Mortgage Loan Originator at American Mortgage & Equity Consultants, made an impromptu appearance on the panel upon request.

The hour-long discussion took place at Hallie Q. Brown Center in St. Paul, with panelists sharing their experiences and answering questions from audience members.

After the discussion, attendees were able to gather more information about homeownership and shop with vendors. Olivia Crutchfield/MSR News

Rice reported that homeownership rates in Minnesota are at 74 percent for Whites, but only 22 percent for African Americans. Later in the discussion, Frazier lamented the low number of African American homeownership in Minnesota, saying, “We want everybody to win. But when it’s White, Asian, Latino and then Black [in last place] something doesn’t feel right. “It’s all because we don’t have the education. And once we have the information, we need to act on it.”

The biggest discussion takeaways:

  • Don’t be afraid to dream and have a vision of yourself owning your own home.
  • Know your credit score. Obtain a copy of your credit report from all three reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) by going to the government site According to Rice, most lenders pay attention to the Experian report.
  • Educate yourself at the start of the homebuyer process and remain proactive in seeking out information.

Find more homeownership resources here.

Next up, Sister Spokesman will once again gather at the Hallie Q. Brown Center for “The Business of Beauty” on June 2! Go here to RSVP.

Olivia Crutchfield/MSR News

See more photos from Olivia Crutchfield and Facebook video of the panel discussion below: