Tenesia Brown is a real estate investor who is on a mission to create 1000 Black homeowners in Kansas City. She has been in the real estate business for about 15 years and owns a real estate business in Buckner, Missouri.
Her mission to create 1000 Black homeowners came after she was diagnosed with cancer. She was initially diagnosed with two types of cancer although the other one turned out wrong.
“It was just like, ‘Wow, what do you want to be known for? You know, if I was to die today, what would someone say in my eulogy?’ And I was thinking, ‘That she likes to have fun,’” Brown told KCUR. “It wasn’t a lot that I felt like that they could say. So my purpose was given to me.”
While undergoing treatment, Brown noticed that some of the communities she grew up in, around Kansas City’s east side, were being gentrified or being swallowed by developers.
She, therefore, decided to rebrand her real estate firm and opened Key’s Realty Group in the 3300 block of Linwood Boulevard. Her sole mission was to focus on increasing Black homeownership rates in the urban core by turning long-time renters into first-time buyers.
“I can help with gentrification because I just feel like the point is people just aren’t taking advantage. They’re not buying — but they’re complaining,” said Brown. “So if I can help as many people who are living in these neighbourhoods be able to buy and stay in these neighbourhoods, then that’s one problem solved.”
Aside from Kansas City, Brown is looking to expand to other cities. She recently opened an office in St. Louis. She wants to focus on the urban core there, too.
“Once you’re stable, because you now own a property, it makes life a little easier. It takes stress off of you. It does a lot for not just you, but your entire family once you’ve been stabilized,” said Brown.
“I believe that with the pride in home ownership and being invested in the community or in the block or in the neighbourhood, then that kind of help with stabilizing neighbourhoods, which stabilizes cities and brings businesses to those areas. And it’s just like a trickle-down effect.”
Per a study cited by KCUR, there are fewer Black homeowners now than 10 years ago and the almost 30% gap between Black and white homeownership is bigger today than it was in the 60s.
After four years of setting her goal of 1,000 new Black homeowners in Kansas City, Brown is nearly halfway there.