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BY Abu Mubarik, 9:06am February 22, 2021,

How this real estate investor is tackling affordable housing through blockchain

Real estate investor and entrepreneur Vernon J. Photo Credit: eastnewyork.com

Homeownership remains a challenge in the Black community. In the US for instance, Black people pay for homeownership than any other group. Beyond that, Blacks pay more for mortgage interest, mortgage insurance, and property taxes than any other group, according to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Overall, Blacks pay annual mortgage interest of $743, mortgage insurance of $550, and property taxes of about $390. In total, it amounts to $67,320 in lost retirement savings for Black homeowners when invested over 30 years.

These inequities make it impossible for Black households to build housing wealth at the same rate as White households. Furthermore, the black-white income gap of $25, 8004 is exacerbated by this “black tax” on homeownership.

According to one study, only 43 percent of African Americans—and 46 percent of Latinos—report living in homes of their own, compared to nearly 73 percent of Whites. It further points out that homeownership attainment in the U.S. remains deeply stratified by race and ethnicity.

It is in the light of these challenges that a real estate investor and entrepreneur Vernon J has created an avenue for Blacks to own homes or rent at an affordable price. He has created EquityCoin™ (EQTY), the first digital token on the blockchain-backed by affordable housing. EquityCoin will serve as a vehicle to rally Black communities to invest in local affordable housing projects cooperatively.

Vernon says he was inspired to create EquityCoin because of the homelessness he witnessed first hand while renting out one of his housing units in East New York, Brooklyn, NY., to a single mother living in a shelter. 

The real estate entrepreneur has been in the sector for more than 15 years and has facilitated over $50 million worth of transactions. He says instead of watching the inequalities continue, he was inspired to create a solution to solve the housing crisis among blacks.

“Once I handed her the keys to the apartment, she wept with tears full of joy. That feeling of fulfilment was inexplicable; and it was at that moment I knew my purpose was to offer a helping hand to thousands of other families in need,” says Vernon, according to eastnewyork.

EquityCoin works by creating a system for tokenizing real property in the United States that allows a token holder to purchase and retain all legal rights and protections that are provided by traditional ownership of real estate, according to its website.

EquityCoin includes the following characteristics:

1. To enable legally recognized ownership of real property  

2. To be freely transferable to anyone without restriction (within the framework of SEC laws and regulations)

3. To give EQTY holders rights to property cash flows

Vernon is currently building low-cost houses in East New York to rent to tenants who have Section 8 and Fheps. Fheps is a city program that transitions people from homeless shelters to permanent housing. Vernon rents the buildings to small Black business owners.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: February 22, 2021


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