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Homeownership and America's Financial Underclass
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Book description

Why does America have a love affair with homeownership? For many, buying a home is no longer in their best interest and may harm their children's educational opportunities. This book argues that US leaders need to re-evaluate housing policies and develop new ones that ensure that all Americans have access to affordable housing, whether rented or owned. After describing common myths, the book shows why the circumstances now faced by America's financial underclass make it impossible for them to benefit from homeownership because they cannot afford to buy homes. It then exposes the risks of 'home buying while brown or black,' discussing US policies that made it easier for whites to buy homes, but harder and more costly for blacks and Latinos to do so. The book argues that remaining racial discrimination and certain demographic features continue to make it harder for blacks and Latinos to receive homeownership's promised benefits.

Reviews

'The myth that everyone should be a homeowner is just that - a myth, argues Professor Mechele Dickerson in this penetrating book, and a dangerous one at that. She reveals how financial institutions and real estate professionals, backed by the US government, promoted increasingly risky credit in service to the homeownership myth - with particularly disastrous consequences for minority groups, the elderly, and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Professor Dickerson demonstrates that, contrary to their supposed goals, the numerous incentives for homeownership often distort financial planning and destabilize residential areas, and she argues that many of our fellow citizens would be better served by programs that invest in education and earning opportunities, so as to provide a firm platform for stable communities that include renters along with homeowners.'

Carol M. Rose - University of Arizona College of Law, coauthor of Saving the Neighborhood: Racially Restrictive Covenants, Law, and Social Norms

'A bold, clear-eyed, and refreshingly blunt appraisal of the problems with the homeownership proposition for struggling middle-class and poorer workers. Mechele Dickerson’s book is a must-read for anyone in housing policy.'

Patricia A. McCoy - Liberty Mutual Professor of Law, Boston College Law School

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