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Bedford-Stuyvesant Real Estate Board celebrates 75 years

NAREB President Julius Cartwright, left, was honored by BSREB Board members, left to right, president Bessie Edwards, treasurer Richard Flateau and board chair Joyce Turner at the organization’s 75th anniversary.

While the crises faced by distressed homeowners is major, there’s also a growing interest in turning the very young on to property ownership in order to continue the established tradition of legacy building.

Much of the discussion at BSREB’s recent 75th anniversary events centered on the theme of educating our youth about the “value of property ownership, and changing attitudes about money and wealth.”

Mr. Richard Flateau mentioned, “Our (youth) should save to own their first home. Then, they can move into the business of real estate.  Also, home ownership is the key to passing wealth to the next generations.”

District Leader Robert Cornegy shared the same sentiment. He stated, “Many young homeowners are not viewing their homes as business ventures — they can actually take out equity on their homes and purchase another home to build wealth.”

In keeping with the theme of the night, Councilman Al Vann offered advice to the next generation of homeowners, “Stay the course. My generation didn’t waver when elements came into play. We stayed the course.”

This week, Our Time Press talked to NAREB president Julius  Cartwright,  who is leading the organization’s SHIBA  (State of  Housing in Black  America) series of workshops.  Cartwright is the voice and presene of NAREB’s nation-wide effort to educate distressed homeowners in trouble with their mortgages, inform and inspire would-be homeowners on how to activate their dreams, and, most importantly, create the next generations of homeowners (currently ages 16-25) who will not only continue a legacy that organizations like NAREB and BSREB fostered, but own an investment that helps sustain them and their communities.


During the dinner, in his keynote address and in the separate interview with Our Time Press, Mr. Cartwright emphasized the need to work with young people and bring them on board.  We  invited him to share a special message to Brooklyn.

Organizations should  bring young people to the table, he says. If they are not ready, teach them why they must get ready and how. “You must expose them to opportunity.  Educate them and show them results — what can be achieved.  “Owning a home is an awesome responsibility but with ownership comes the pride of homeownership,” he said, adding that they should be taught the true meaning of pride and legacy.  “But more important, is that as they are growing, the property is appreciating in time and going up in value.” And the legacy is going up in value, too.

“You must explain to them that waiting to become involved in this process may cost them more down the road,” Cartwright stated. “The property that now costs $300,000 while the market is down, within five years, may double, even triple in value.  So if they wait five years, affordability goes out the window.  And a potential million dollars in equity and value is lost.”

Cartwright’s message is advice that some young people have already activated, armed with the the sparest of bank accounts but with an abundance of creativity, energy and faith.

At the BSREB dinner, aspiring homeowner and music teacher Jennifer Kennedy of Bedford Stuyvesant told us, “I feel like an indentured servant to my student loans. It feels like a cloud is over my head, but despite the unemployment rate, the people of my generation are doing some very creative things to find employment. They have an entrepreneurial spirit. I believe my generation will change the system of home ownership. I will own a home one day, and pass the wealth to generations who will come after me.”


Educating young people, distressed homeowners and potential future homeowners makes for a good program.  But who educates the “educators.”

In addition to its two large annual conferences, attended by hundreds of realtists, NAREB’s website offers information.  Cartwright’s travel calendar is full; in every city he visits, he finds an opportunity to deliver messages which he does, by the way,  with the fire of a minister, the finesse of a statesman and the flair (refined) of a Hip-Hop mogul.

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