Buy The Block B(l)ack- Home Ownership Fund
The Church of Ahimsa is a community space based in West Philadelphia that is centered around anti-oppression work and healing through the gift economy. The church has evolved from a social experiment based in generosity, unconditional love and social, environmental and economic nonviolence (Ahimsa in Sanskrit).
The Church of Ahimsa has established a reparations fund focused on bridging the wealth gap in home ownership between Black and white Philadelphians. Government policies have historically assisted whites in gaining wealth and creating barriers to black wealth particularly in real estate investments where redlining, sundown towns even FHA loans prevented Black people from gaining ownership in certain areas. This occupied Lenape land that is called Philadelphia has neighborhoods that have been gentrifying at alarming rates, displacing Black home owners and renters, due to increasing rents, home prices and tax increases. The church of Ahimsa, located in Cedar Park, a historically Black neighborhood, increased in equity $450,000 in 9 years, as the neighborhood became increasingly white, whereas nearby properties in Cobbs Creek and Mantua- still predominantly Black neighborhoods have not seen an increase in home value. According to the Bookings institute, owner-occupied homes in Black neighborhoods are undervalued by $48,000 per home on average, amounting to $156 billion in cumulative losses by black home owners across America.
White privilege is seen in all aspects of society, yet particularly in the area of home ownership. Across Philadelphia, white people are profiting from real estate at a higher rate than Black people. This fund aims to raise up to 50, $10,000 down payments for Black families and individuals who have been unable to purchase their own homes. Reparations are an act of compassion, generosity and nonviolence, they are not going to take away the pain of racism, but they are a step towards creating equity. Those white land owners who gain income or equity in your ownership, we encourage you to offer some of your income and equity towards this fund. This fund will provide those without white privilege with down payment support. We also welcome reparations in the form of home repair, materials, furniture and services. New Black home buyers will be screened by community leaders and offered credit repair services, home ownership classes. The homes will be purchased in a concentrated neighborhood in Philadelphia so that those receiving support can co-create a vibrant block focused on black liberation. Collaboratively creating green and sacred shared spaces, and over time, increasing the value of the properties, gaining wealth and equity.
Ta- Nahisi Coates wrote A case for reparations: “Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”