Mural in Denver
Project I See You is providing grants to first-time women homebuyers in Colorado. van de Sande

For many women, particularly Blacks and Latinas, owning a home can seem like an unattainable dream in the current U.S. economy. In this context, a nonprofit from Colorado is seeking to empower those in lower-income brackets in the Denver metro area to help turn their aspirations into reality.

Project I See You gives $10,000 grants to first-time women homebuyers as part of its Shared Power initiative, which also applies to small business owners.

The initiative was born in 2021 amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, whose economic impact was disproportionately affecting women, especially women of color. Its goal was to raise money for 10 women who would not otherwise be able to own their own home or keep their business open. They achieved the initial goal and have doubled it each year since.

One of the grant recipients, Latasha Bell, told CBS News that receiving the grant was an opportunity she had been longing for, having struggled to save for a down payment for many years.

After being raised by her mother in low-income housing, Bell was determined to provide her children with a home where they could thrive and grow.

"Turning the key was unreal. I kept thinking about my mother, who's passed on, that it would have been amazing to share with her that this can be done. Happiness, peace, and dreams aren't for other communities. These goals are accessible to us as well," Bell said. "I was so proud, because I realized in that moment I was breaking a cycle."

Mercy Tucker, who runs Project I See You, told the outlet: "It is a long term, life changing impact that we're making... When a woman owns a home, it really is the way to build generational wealth."

Tucker pointed out the existing disparity among various demographic groups of women in the U.S. Last year, 81% of all first-time homebuyers in the country were White, while only 7% were Black, and another 7% were Hispanic/Latino, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In order to play a role in addressing those disparities, Project I See You has already given out 60 grants to women like Bell since 2021. This year, they aim to provide 40 additional grants.

"Becoming a homeowner has enhanced and changed the way that I love my community and the people around me," Anttoinete Johnson, another recipient of the grant, says in a video by the nonprofit.

"Project 'I See You' is compassionate people who are doing the right things making sure that people, especially women of color, get a house in a reasonable place where they can feel they're home."

The Shared Power Initiative accepts grant applications from women in Colorado who are in the process of buying their first home on their own and are "in need of support to complete their journey to homeownership."

Applications are received throughout the year. If accepted, the nonprofit invite applicants to an informational meeting to hear where they are in the homeowner process and give them more understanding about our program.

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