According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Selected Economic Characteristics, based on 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, 30.9 percent of American families headed by women with no husband present are below the poverty level. As women make advancements in the American workforce—by progressing to executive roles, achieving higher pay and eliminating longstanding barriers—the percentage of women householders living in poverty will decrease accordingly, and as this progress occurs, it is important to secure it with tangible assets.

Homeownership is one of the most powerful avenues through which to cement one’s economic foundation. An increase in women’s homeownership levels would safeguard their advancements and provide a platform for future generations to do the same. From financial security and independence to confident personal and professional lives, the benefits of women’s homeownership are decisive.

A recent study from Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) reveals that Hispanic women are the key to Hispanics’ home buying power. Among the report’s findings, two are especially resounding: 91 percent of Hispanic women surveyed believe that buying a home is the best investment they can make and 73 percent of women surveyed prefer working with a female agent than a male. As Hispanic women progress to homeownership it is crucial to learn the best ways to serve them; this will ensure that they make the right purchase and it will guarantee that their growth is encouraged. Due to limited statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and their American Community Survey (ACS) on minority women homeowners, the collection of this kind of data is exactly what NAWRB is championing.

As a leader in the women’s diversity and inclusion (D&I) movement, NAWRB is launching our Women’s Homeownership Initiative (WHI) in 2016 with the purpose of making owning a home possible for a greater number of women.

NAWRB’s WHI will advocate for better data collection concerning women’s homeownership to better understand and address the obstacles facing potential women homeowners, champion women’s homeownership throughout our organization and networks in an effort to raise awareness and garner support for our initiative, host regional meetings for training on topics such as financial literacy to prepare women for homeownership and call upon banks to create special lending programs for potential female homebuyers to ensure that hardworking women are not unjustly rightsized out of homeownership.

Programs like the Women’s Homeownership Initiative help women create a better future for themselves and their families. By investing in women’s homeownership, we can create a ripple effect that will produce a profound societal change, which is the fastest, surest way to positively affect the future for women.