How African Americans in rural areas learn to become homeowners
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The purpose of this study was to identify the process by which African Americans in rural areas become homeowners. To achieve this purpose, the following questions were guided the research: 1) what were the components of the process of becoming homeowners? 2) what did people learn in the process of becoming homeowners? 3) how did people learn in the process of becoming homeowners? 4) how did race and other factors shape the process of becoming homeowners in the rural context? A qualitative study utilizing in-depth interviews to obtain data from the participants was conducted to identify the process by which African Americans in rural areas become homeowners. A purposeful sampling of ten African Americans first-time homebuyers living in rural middle Georgia and who purchased their homes through one of the Federal Rural Housing Programs within the past five years or less was conducted. Governmental documents obtained from various Federal Rural Housing agencies were also reviewed. Participants’ interviews were the primary source of data with some official documents reviewed included in the analysis. Four components assisted the respondents in becoming homeowners: a) desire to be a homeowner, b) systematic inquiry, c) application process, and d) approval. The homeowners learned lessons in four categories from going through the process: 1) steps and concepts of homeownership, 2) money management, 3) home maintenance, and 4) communication skills. Homeowners utilized informal and some formal methods of learning to obtain information. Race, participants’ background, and the Federal Rural Housing Programs were factors that played a major part in shaping the process of becoming a homeowner. Three major conclusions were revealed in this study: (1) African Americans in rural areas lacked the knowledge and expertise of information gathering; therefore, retarding the homeownership process; (2) Before and during the participants’ investigations, informal learning was the principal way for African Americans in rural areas to learn about the homeownership process; and (3) Racism was a barrier in the homeownership process for African Americans in rural areas.