U.S. Congressman Dwight Evans and members of Philadelphia City Council joined the Urban League of Philadelphia in October to announce the launch of Philly 5 by 25, a new initiative to expand homeownership opportunities for people of color. Funded with a $7.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the initiative kicked off with a housing and homeownership fair at the Community College of Philadelphia.
The donation comes from the Wells Fargo Wealth Opportunity Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative, a $60 million national effort to address systemic barriers to homeownership for people of color. Philadelphia is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant. The ULP aims to create 5,000 new homeowners of color in Philadelphia by the end of 2025.
“We are committed to this work now more than ever,” said Keith Bethel, Board Chair of the Urban League of Philadelphia. “Philly 5 by 25 will ensure that more Philadelphians have an opportunity to raise their families in quality affordable housing and create a pathway to intergenerational wealth. We’re incredibly grateful for Wells Fargo’s investment in this critical work, and we look forward to driving equitable change alongside our partners and local stakeholders.”
“Combined with federal investments in housing that we’ve recently passed, this type of private‑sector initiative is important and welcome in Philadelphia,” said Congressman Dwight Evans.
“Removing barriers that limit people from realizing their goals is essential for a more equitable society,” said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation and head of Philanthropy and Community Impact. “We need deliberate action to address the racial homeownership gap. Our grant to ‘Philly 5 by 25’ is intended to mobilize collaboration across the city to make affordable homeownership a reality for thousands of Philadelphians.”
According to a 2021 report from the Urban Institute, Philadelphia continues to face a significant homeownership gap, with 59% of white households owning their own homes, while only 43% of Black households and 48% of Hispanic households do. In addition, the characteristics of Philadelphia’s households and housing market make growing the number of Black and Hispanic homeowners immensely challenging, including old housing stock and tangled titles.
Convened by ULP, “Philly 5 by 25” brings together five community‑based organizations with deep networks in majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, including HACE, Congreso De Latinos Unidos, New Kensington Community Development Corp, and the Urban Affairs Coalition.
Recognizing the breadth of housing inequities in Philadelphia, the collaborative plans to implement five strategies that build on recent successes and plan new investments to address the remaining barriers to support homebuyers:
- Address the lack of savings that locks many households of color out of homeownership through down payment assistance
- Connect inexperienced or credit‑challenged buyers with resources and financing
- Expand the supply of existing affordable housing inventory through an affordable housing development fund
- Implement and advocate for structural changes to create and preserve wealth‑building opportunities for people of color
- Reach prospective homebuyers of color through citywide informational and marketing campaign
The launch of “Philly 5 by 25” builds on significant efforts and proven track records by the local organizations to address deep‑rooted housing challenges, including the work by lead collaborative convener, the Urban League of Philadelphia. Just last year, ULP’s housing counseling department successfully provided financial literacy services for 2,400 families, with 850 receiving one‑on‑one first‑time homebuyer counseling, and 230 achieving homeownership for a total market value of over $52 million. 85% of the clients served by ULP are people of color, and 70% are single women head of household, a trend that carries through the organizations that make up “Philly 5 by 25.”
“What we’re doing with this new collaborative is special, and it’s necessary,” said Terri Wiggins, interim CEO of the ULP. “We’re emboldened to break down siloes and work with our local partners to reach the same collective goal.”
Wells Fargo is working to increase racial equity in homeownership. Nationally, WORTH aims to help create 40,000 new homeowners of color by the end of 2025. Wells Fargo’s $40 million Growing Diverse Housing Developers program is also working to expand housing inventory in communities of color, among other initiatives. The company also recently launched a Special Purpose Credit Program to help eligible homeowners of color whose mortgages are serviced by Wells Fargo lower their interest rates and reduce their monthly mortgage payments.
From Wells Fargo