Pittsburgh developer helps first time minority homeowner’s American Dream

PITTSBURGH — Channel 11′s Michele Newell is highlighting the dispartities so many people in our community deal with on a daily basis.

She spoke to a black real estate developer who tells me he has dealt with discrimination first hand.

“Right now we are standing in mt. Lebanon. 3 bedrooms in this property and there’s a master inn suite downstairs. We’ll refinish all the flooring so it’s nice and shiny,” Greenwood Properties owner Stephen Long said.

This is a normal day for Long, as he is a real estate developer buying properties and flipping them.

“Sometimes you have to be able to see the beauty before the project is finished.”

But, as a black real estate developer in Pittsburgh, Long admits there are extreme challenges.

“When I walk around, I have to dress up like a worker to not let the neighbors know who actually owns the property.”

And when it comes to securing loans, it’s not any easier.

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“At the beginning, it was almost impossible, no one would give us a loan for properties. They always discriminate. They always set such high qualifications.”

Long says he hasn’t completely given up on banks. But for now he is relying on a system he uses to get the job done.

“I starting bringing my friends together, we started investing and purchasing properties so that we don’t have to go to the bank anymore. I hope a black person comes and purchases it, because in mt. Lebanon there is really no black families out here at all.”

Councilmen Ricky Burgess, Daniel Lavelle and other community leaders just released a report that shows how difficult it is for Black and brown people to secure loans and become homeowners.

According to the report, in 2019 there were a little more than 52,000 white homeowners, just under 9,500 Black and brown homeowners and only 893 Hispanic and Latino homeowners in Allegheny County.

“With the properties either - I have - I try to make them all fair price so everyone is able to afford them. If you get a 30 year loan, but then there goes the problem a lot of people aren’t qualifying for loans.”

Despite the problems, Long says he teaches Black and brown people about financial literacy and the house flipping industry. He showed us pictures of some of the classes he offers.

“I show them what not t buy and what to buy. I show them, the the red flags when they are purchasing.”