Director of Strategic Planning and Communications
Peter E. Garuccio
Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
FHLBank Atlanta to Co-sponsor Forum Designed to Address Heirs’ Property
Potential Funders to Hear Pitches for Pilot Initiatives and Targeted Solutions
ATLANTA, November 9, 2021 – Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) will join with Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and Asset Funders Network to host a unique one-day event designed to prevent and solve the challenge of heirs’ property. The Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Funders’ Forum will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (ET) on December 2, 2021 at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.
During the Funders’ Forum, nonprofit organizations and other entities will pitch pilot initiatives intended to address a particular issue or issues associated with heirs’ property. Potential funders will have the opportunity to ask questions and further explore proposed initiatives. Participating funders are under no obligation to commit to any pilot initiative.
Heirs’ property occurs when a real property owner dies intestate or with a will that leaves the property to multiple beneficiaries, usually their children. This results in a fractured or tangled title that, if left unresolved, can lead to ownership uncertainty and conflict among family members. Moreover, a fractured title is unmarketable and prevents the ability to sell, collateralize, improve, or otherwise transfer the property, becoming a barrier to the accumulation of generational wealth. Heirs’ property is disproportionately found in Black, Native, and Latinx communities, rural and distressed urban communities, and communities with low wealth. It is a significant contributor to vacancy, abandonment, and unrealized equity in impoverished neighborhoods and among racial and ethnic communities throughout the country. For example, a 1980 study by the Emergency Land Fund estimated that 41 percent of rural land in the Southeast that is owned by Black Americans is heirs’ property.1 A more recent article by the Atlanta Fed indicates that in the six southeastern states that are part of the Atlanta Fed’s District, at least 85,607 properties are heirs’ properties2.
The purpose of the Funders’ Forum is to match resources with entities that are positioned to deliver those resources to families and communities dealing with heirs’ property. The proposals are expected to fall into one of five categories: financial literacy, pro-bono legal services, local government innovation, affordable housing solutions, or academic research. Needed resources include more than just monetary contributions and might involve contributions of human capital and non-monetary resources.
“FHLBank Atlanta is proud to partner with the other sponsors of this important event and help drive solutions to the challenges presented by heirs’ property,” said Arthur L. Fleming, FHLBank Atlanta’s Senior Vice President and Director of Community Investment Services. “Billions of dollars of unrealized wealth is locked up in heirs’ properties, keeping so many individuals and families across our district – and across the country – from enjoying the full benefits of the real estate investments made by their ancestors. Our goal with this event is to connect funders with solutions to help serve as the key to unlocking this wealth and creating more equitable options for minority and low-wealth citizens.”
The Funders’ Forum is open to registered funders who can attend virtually or in person. Potential funders wishing to attend are encouraged to reach out to FHLBank Atlanta’s media contact listed above for more information.
About FHLBank Atlanta
FHLBank Atlanta offers competitively-priced financing, community development grants, and other banking services to help member financial institutions make affordable home mortgages and provide economic development credit to neighborhoods and communities. The Bank’s members—its shareholders and customers—are commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions, community development financial institutions, and insurance companies located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. FHLBank Atlanta is one of 11 district Banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Since 1990, the FHLBanks have awarded approximately $7 billion in Affordable Housing Program funds, assisting more than 990,000 households.
For more information, visit our website at www.fhlbatl.com.
1The Emergency Land Fund, Inc. (1980). The Impact of Heir Property on Black Rural Land Tenure in the Southeastern Region of the United States.
2Carpenter, Ann, Shana Jones, and J. Scott. Pippin. (2016). “Understanding Heirs’ Property in the Southeast.” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Partners Update. March/April 2016.
Director of Strategic Planning and Communications