Breaking News
More () »

'This is necessary for us to move forward' | St. Louis Realtors issues apology, reveals new equity plan

The group admitted to decades of discriminatory policies that created barriers for African Americans wanting to own homes in and around St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS — On Monday, Sept. 19, St. Louis Realtors issued a public apology for its history of racially discriminatory practices and revealed a plan to take steps forward.

As part of its apology, the group admitted to decades of laws and policies that created barriers for African Americans wanting to own homes in and around the City of St. Louis.

The apology is something many have waited years for and one that the current St. Louis Realtors President Katie Berry described as "a long time coming."

Due to years of segregation, experts said the area has a dual housing market, one for white families and one for Black families. 

That is why many, such as Executive Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council Will Jordan, described Monday's apology as "monumental."

"This is necessary for us to move forward," Jordan said.

Speaker after speaker took to the podium Monday morning inside Harris Stowe State's University Performance Center with one common message.

"This is a humongous step to a necessary change," one speaker said.

That step was a public apology by the St. Louis Realtors, which Berry read to the crowd.

"St. Louis Realtors is painfully aware of the historical discriminatory laws of the local, state and federal governments," she said.

It was decades of those discriminatory laws and policies that directly prevented many African-Americans from owning homes in the St. Louis area. This left a huge homeownership gap, which Berry said St. Louis Realtors is trying to change.

RELATED: Million-dollar homes shrink in size nationwide. Here's how big they are in the St. Louis market.

"It's really important that we start closing that homeownership gap so that we can build generational wealth in all segments of our society and our community," she said.

The Reimagining St. Louis Plan will help the group do just that through education, awareness and legislation, Berry said. 

She said the plan will also focus on creating more Black realtors and encouraging Black leadership within the organization. 

"Once we start having an industry that looks more like the community we serve, that will also help to close that homeownership gap," Berry said.

Jordan said hearing the announcement and the plan gave him goosebumps.

"They didn't just make the announcement and say, 'We're going to do something,'" he said. "They made the announcement and said, 'We've already started.'"

Jordan described the whole morning as "significant."

"It's not just coming from one place, it's coming from the entire association that has already had an impact on the state and nationwide on this industry," he said.

It's that impact that Jordan hopes can spark much-needed change.

"Ten years from now, if African Americans in St. Louis, if their ownership rate is at 75%, we did right," he said.

There will be a Reimagining St. Louis Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the St. Louis Community College. People can go there to receive financial literacy resources as well as resources to assist them in becoming a homeowner.

To watch 5 On Your Side broadcasts or reports 24/7, 5 On Your Side is always streaming on 5+. Download for free on Roku or Amazon Fire TV. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out