Black Real Estate Agent Scholarship & Mentoring Program
It is with great honor that The Blackstone Team of Mott & Chace Sotheby’s International Realty announces the recipient of its inaugural Black Real Estate Agent Scholarship & Mentorship Program (BREA) for 2023. We would like to congratulate Julien Jonfelix. “I am beyond thrilled to have been granted this amazing opportunity to work and learn from the innovative Blackstone Team of Mott & Chace / Sotheby’s International Realty. As a born and raised Providence native, I am honored to have this opportunity to impact the lives of those right here in the land I come from.” Jonfelix states.
Julien embodies all of the qualities (and more) sought in a candidate. His commitment to achieving his career goals, his passion for serving community, and his drive to learn everything he can about real estate’s past, present and future made him the standout. Nelson Taylor, Managing Partner of The Blackstone Team, says, “We’re so happy that Julien chose us to help him launch his career in local real estate. There’s no question that he will be a star in the marketplace.”
Due to systemic racism, Black individuals have been under-represented in all aspects of real estate. As part of The State of Black Rhode Island Series, Brown University recently published a report entitled: Policy Recommendations to Increase the Rate of Black Homeownership in RI. They report that the homeownership rate among Americans is 64%, but in the Black community it is just 42% (34% in RI).
Their six specific recommendations are as follows: 1) Create financing programs for Black individuals with lower credit scores. Organizations and banks could partner to create these programs; 2) Increase access to small-dollar mortgage assistance (e.g., $10,000 to $70,000) for single family properties for Black homeowners and homeowner occupied homes in Black neighborhoods; 3) Expand the capacity and strength of local Community Development Financial Institution networks to direct financial resources to groups with historically low homeownership due to structural barriers (e.g., racism); 4) Expand federal programs offered through the Federal Housing Administration and Housing and Urban Development; 5) Engage in extensive, targeted outreach efforts to increase awareness, visibility and access to down payment assistance and other homeowner- ship assistance programs for Black Rhode Islanders and evaluate program reach; and 6) Address Black Rhode Islanders’ perceived barriers to home ownership.
“We’d like to add another recommendation to their list,” Taylor says. With their BREA Scholarship & Mentorship Program, they aim to help increase the number of Black real estate agents in the RI marketplace. Nationally, fewer than 6% of active real estate agents/brokers identify as Black, though more than 11% of the population is Black. Conversely, 62% of Americans identify as White, while 74% of real estate agents/brokers in this country are White. “Black people,” Taylor adds, “have every historical reason in the world not to trust real estate and thus real estate agents. We want to change that. We believe that real estate is the great equalizer and that by working together to create a more diverse and inclusive real estate industry, we can create greater levels of stability through generational wealth and stronger, more resilient Rhode Island communities.”
In addition to a grant of $10,000 for introductory education, licensing and living expenses, Julien will work closely with every member of The Blackstone Team over the six-month mentorship period. "The BREA Mentorship program is such an amazing opportunity for individuals of color like me to get the best chance at success in the Real Estate industry. The Blackstone Team opening their doors to guide me through the process of becoming an agent at such a quality and prestigious level is unheard of.” Jonfelix adds, “During my time with the Blackstone Team of Mott & Chace / Sotheby’s International Realty, I will be working diligently to prepare not only myself for this new career move, but to set the stage for others whot are looking to take a step into the field behind me. My presence will be felt."
Please join us in wishing Julien great success as he embarks on his new career in real estate, and reach out if you’d like more information about how you can join The Blackstone Team’s efforts to create a brighter and more diverse future. Let’s work together to end systemic racism in the real estate industry.