<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=730207053839709&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Skip to the main content.

3 min read

For Black Boys Who Have Never Considered Homeownership - When the Possibility Actually Feels Real

For Black Boys Who Have Never Considered Homeownership - When the Possibility Actually Feels Real

Denzel Belin (he/him) is a Black bisexual Minneapolis-based writer, director, actor, producer, and improviser. He serves as the Artistic Director for Threshold Theater, whose mission is to "produce fresh LGBTQ works." He currently writes and performs with “Queer Window,” an all-queer sketch show based in New York City. Belin recently presented a longform collection of solo sketches and storytelling, “With Love, From Washington” for the Blackness Is… Festival in Minneapolis.

Denzel, a queer Black man, posing in front of a pink background and holding a basket of pink flowers.

I never thought homeownership was for me.

I lived in apartments most of my life and was more than a bit resentful when my mom moved us from a thrilling college town area in Seattle to a viciously boring city an hour away to “buy a condo.” I felt devilish joy when a thing called “a recession” caused her to foreclose on the condo and we were able to move back into a real city. I was closer to my friends, my high school, and my very important theater rehearsals.

In hindsight, I was a painfully selfish prick of a teenager.

Teen years became adult years and I associated home ownership with one of two things.

  1. Something wealthy people did. In Seattle, a decent house cost at minimum one million dollars, or at least that was the perception I learned being the broke Black kid at a rich white private school.
    1. Rich to the level where I had classmates who were friends with the Gates children.
      1. Gates meaning Bill and Melinda.
  1. Something that caused pain. While I saw my own life and goals benefitting from a horrible economic structure that struck havoc on millions of Americans, my mother was one of the fiscal casualties. These pangs still resonate to this day – my mother is still a renter who watches HGTV as a reflection of her far-off dreams and her current nightmares.

Why would I want to be a part of homeownership?

And this is just the items that relate to me. Learning about redlining in school and the countless ways that systems are built against people who share my identities made this whole thing feel needlessly hard. Why should I put myself through it – working twice as hard to receive half the respect? And besides, I am a performing artist. I am supposed to navigate my life in survival mode.


So, what am I supposed to do when my therapist tells me that he doesn’t think I am in survival mode anymore? That a combination of hard work, right place, and right time have led me to a place where I can transition from “survive” to “thrive?” And what happens after you can’t deny it anymore because your therapist being good at his job, keeps reinforcing this idea?

Denzel winking and smirking at the camera.

You take a deep breath. You think to yourself, “I am in a position to thrive.” You say out loud, “I am in a position to thrive.” You write on the whiteboard in your kitchen next to your grocery list, “I am in a position to thrive.”

You start to think bigger. You start doing things that you’ve always wanted to do. You become more comfortable with yourself. You decide to start saving money every month for a down payment and thinking of paint colors and talking with your mom about living a dream that she has secretly always had for you. You allow yourself to think maybe homeownership is for me—or condo ownership, because the idea of shoveling in winter stresses me out.

I am very much still on my journey to home ownership. I am still renting, and I don’t have any shame about that. I am currently placing a sum of money away with every paycheck and project that my decision making will happen around 2025. I know for a lot of people, that isn’t much on the home ownership journey. Why is this guy even writing about it? Where is that moment where we can say “Wow, he did it and so can I?”

I write and share because this journey deserves to be highlighted at every step. I do not plan to somehow write the magical blog post that makes everything better. I do, however, aim to give transparency.

So, right now?

I am currently at this stage and regret nothing about the journey it took to be here.

I am proud of the fact that when the world so loudly said you can’t, I was able to see that it was an option for me that feels good for me in this moment.

I am so much further on this journey than I thought I’d ever be.

Home ownership can be for me and having that option has made a world of difference.

A future with options is a future full of opportunities, hope, and dreams.

I’m ready to take on that future.

Leaping the Wealth Gap

Leaping the Wealth Gap

Cecilia Stanton Adams is the co-founder and CEO of The Diversity Institute. She works with diversity leaders and practitioners from educational...

Read More
Selling Back a Habitat Home for the Next Generation

Selling Back a Habitat Home for the Next Generation

Editor's note: This piece was updated in 2023 to contain the latest resources related to Twin Cities Habitat homeownership.

Read More