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Albuquerque Awarded $550,000 to Help Close Racial Wealth Gap

Funding intended to support wealth-building efforts for Native and Black residents

The City of Albuquerque Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) received two grants totaling $550,000 from Living Cities, a national collaboration of financial institutions and foundations that support efforts to close the racial wealth gap. Albuquerque was selected as one of six cities, along with Austin, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester, to receive a total of $3.2 million. The effort was made possible by the Wells Fargo Foundation and Citi Foundation, as part of the Closing the Gaps Network, a multi-year initiative to bring together leaders from cities who are committed to building an anti-racist society that advances equitable and inclusive economic opportunity.

The Albuquerque grants will help fund a homeownership project designed to increase homeownership rates of Albuquerque’s Native and Black communities and to develop a pipeline of licensed Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) general contractors in the city. A needs assessment found that these two populations have the lowest homeownership rates in the city, and called for targeted programs to assist Black and Indigenous families with buying homes as a strategy to build generational wealth.

"We are doing more than ever before to ensure Black and Native residents have the resources and opportunities to become homeowners. Homeownership is a key pathway to creating generational wealth, and expanding housing options for these communities builds a better and more equitable Albuquerque," said Mayor Tim Keller.

This effort will be led by OEI Director Michelle Melendez; Dawn Begay, who heads the Office of Native American Affairs; and Nichole Rogers, who leads the Office of Black Community Engagement. Together, they are working with other city departments to identify city-owned property and resources for new housing; as well as developing an appropriate construction workforce pipeline to help achieve a better, more equitable Albuquerque.