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Iowa Seeing Disparity in Home Ownership

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Minorities are being left out when it comes to home ownership in Iowa.

A new report finds that while the state ranks high for overall home ownership, it's 36th in the nation for people of color owning their own home.

It's something organizations throughout Cedar Rapids are working to change.

For some families, it's their main sign of wealth, a home, but it's also something that's out of reach for minorities.

"I think it's a couple different things. Some of it is housing policy. Some of it is history, some of it is that we're still new in the community and so it's kind of the trifecta of that, said John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas.

According to the American Community Survey, the number of white home owners in Iowa is 74.4 percent that number falls to 44.6 percent for people of color.

"We have to remember that there's a historical reason for this...things like the GI Bill allowing some folks to gain property and not others, said Chaisson-Cardenas, and today its effect is felt by many.

"Significantly more kids of color are homeless in our schools. This makes it difficult for teachers. It makes it difficult for our schools, Chaisson-Cardenas.

It's why organizations like Four Oaks and Affordable Housing Network along with the total child program are working to turn things around.

Earlier this week, they broke ground on a new home in wellington heights.

Folks at the Catherine McAuley Center, a group that focuses on helping women, say they too are looking at how to address similar issues.

"We're very active in the community we really look at how can we be at the table for these kinds of discussions. These kinds of actions that we can take, said Jennifer Tibbetts, Transitional Housing Program Manager.

Folks at the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission say they also do their part to help improve the situation, by conducting investigations in cases of discrimination.
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