New Black Homebuyer Initiative: the Wealth Gap Equalizer Loan Program

In an effort to address racialized housing inequities, the Community Coalition on Race is launching a loan program—the Wealth Gap Equalizer Loan (WGEL)—with the goal of supporting a new generation of Black and non-white Hispanic homebuyers in South Orange and Maplewood, NJ (SOMA). The historical racial inequities in homeownership that are still present in Essex County, NJ today threaten to constrain the racial diversity of South Orange and Maplewood NJ. In fact, non-Hispanic, White households in Essex County New Jersey are 41% more likely to own a home than their Black and non-white Hispanic counterparts. This gap is greater today than it was fifty years ago, prior to the passage of the Fair Housing Act. The WGEL program is structured to narrow this ownership gap by making home-buying attainable for Black and non-white Hispanic families in the South Orange and Maplewood communities.

WGEL is a Special Purpose Credit program that offers qualifying first-time home-buyers loans up to $7,500. The program relies on interest-free, unsecured loans that will enable these historically disadvantaged families to successfully compete in the home buying process by providing supplemental cash for purchase offers, down payments, closing costs, legal fees and other transactions related to home buying.

In collaboration with HUD-approved counseling agencies, mortgage lenders, and real estate professionals serving the South Orange and Maplewood communities, the Community Coalition on Race has designed the program to ensure that WGEL loan applicants receive counseling, referrals, and reliable support throughout the application and home-buying process. These loans feature a five-year repayment plan with no early penalties, and are designed to provide homebuyers with their funds as quickly as possible, if approved. The Community Coalition is the administrator of the loans.

To learn more and to apply for the Wealth Gap Equalizer Loan, go to

Click here to download and print the WGEL Brochure


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