Mon, May 02

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Online Event

Heirs’ Property Part II: Barriers to Affordable Homeownership

Presentations and a panel discussion from Sea Island Habitat for Humanity, Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, Habitat for Humanity South Carolina, and a legislative special guest.

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Heirs’ Property Part II: Barriers to Affordable Homeownership

Time & Location

May 02, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Online Event

About the Event

Monthly Session #4: Heirs’ Property Part II: Barriers to Affordable Homeownership

Date: Monday, May 2, 2022 from 1:00-2:00PM

Speakers: 

John Rhoden (Executive Director, Sea Island Habitat for Humanity)

Antonia Y. Francis (Staff Attorney, Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation)

Moderator: Nancy Lee (Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity South Carolina)

Legislative Special Guest:  Senator Billy Garrett (South Carolina Senate, District 10 - Abbeville, Greenwood, McCormick, and Saluda Counties)

*NOTE: This is a follow-up session to the webinar hosted in July 2021.

Disparities between white and black households in South Carolina is evidenced by not only the disproportionate homeownership rate, but also historical discrimination with non-deeded family land, known as heirs' property. One-third of the land owned by black landowners in the southern US is held in the heirs' property system – mostly land that was acquired by African Americans after emancipation. Much of this land has been passed down through the generations without the benefit of a will so that the land is owned in common by all the heirs - whether they live on the land, help pay the taxes, or have ever set foot on the land. This unstable form of ownership puts heirs’ property at high risk for loss because any heir can sell his or her percentage of ownership to another who can force a sale of the entire property. Meanwhile, it can also be restricting for property owners who find themselves unable to sell the property due to the lack of clear title, also excluding the land from government programs (such as disaster relief), and the inability to claim the land as an asset to obtain a mortgage – generally putting the owners in an impossible position.

Session will discuss:

  • Overview of legal challenges related to heirs’ property as it relates to housing
  • Habitat for Humanity’s focus on both new homeownership and owner-occupied critical repairs, and how property titles impact affordability
  • Need to address the affordable housing challenges facing heirs' property owners via coalition and policy solutions at the state and federal level

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