The recent recession hit American Latino families especially hard—the Pew Research Center found the median household wealth of Latino families fell more than that of any other group, decreasing 66% between 2005 and 2009, from $18,359 to $6,325. Compounding those losses was a hard hit to industries employing many Latinos, such as construction, hospitality, and domestic services. It left the unemployment rate among Latinos 2% higher than it is for everyone else. Many Latino families are still struggling to regain what they’ve lost.
So the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals is teaming up with Latino business leaders, led by former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, to start the Hispanic Wealth Project. They will begin by studying the problem, and then by the end of this year develop a plan they hope will help Latino families close the gap and triple their household wealth in ten years.
One major focus will be home ownership. A larger percentage of Latinos with mortgages lost their homes due to foreclosure between 2004 and 2008 than did any other group. In a statement to Griselda Navarez of Voxxi, Gary Acosta, CEO of NAHREP, said the project leaders plan to address “a broad set of factors, like small business growth, savings, education, income, jobs and financial literacy.”