Greater access to housing is one of the most powerful tools in the fight for racial justice, according to Isaac Olowolafe Jr. of the BlackNorth Initiative.
Through its housing committee, the Initiative is looking to create a $65 million fund that will provide bridge financing to hundreds of lower-income Black and racialized families, thus helping them buy their own homes.
Olowolafe, who also founded Dream Maker Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on racially diverse start-ups, considers the stability offered by home ownership a fundamental part of creating wealth for marginalized sectors.
“Home ownership leads to other ripple effects (that help individuals and communities) over a long period of time,” Olowolafe told the Financial Post.
Aside from leading BlackNorth’s housing committee, Olowolafe is among the main proponents of the Black Business Development Hub, which is scheduled to open this summer.
Aimed at providing service to hundreds of Black Canadian entrepreneurs, “the Hub will be the centrepiece and physical space which the Black community can leverage to increase access to institutional relationships like banks and universities and government,” Olowolafe said.
The Hub will be situated in a mixed-use development near Toronto’s Pearson Airport, and it is slated to “feature more than a dozen working rooms, hotel and event space, and a commercial kitchen – all of which will be used to incubate and develop Black-owned businesses.”
BlackNorth, in cooperation with the Dream Legacy Foundation and Ryerson DMZ, is planning to raise a further $10 million to fund the Hub’s expansion from its current 13,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.