LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The African-American homeownership rate is the lowest among all groups nationwide and in Las Vegas it’s even lower.

In 1960, there was a 27-point gap between Black and white homeownership. The Fair Housing Act passed in 1968 prohibited housing discrimination and yet today Black homeownership rates are still the same and even worse in some places.

Nationwide, there is a 30-point gap between whites and Blacks when it comes to homeownership, according to the National Association of REALTORS data.

The gap is even wider in Las Vegas, close to 38%, nearly 13% higher than it was 12 years ago, according to Today’s Homeowner which analyzed U.S. Census data. The Black homeownership rate in Las Vegas is 28% which means for every 10 Black Las Vegans, less than three own a home.

Las Vegas valley couple Zarae and Leo Jones are among that small percentage.

“I’m actually going to be the first home buyer in my family,” Leo Jones said.

Homeownership is often a gateway to generational wealth, but Shadi Bushra, an analyst with Today’s Homeowner magazine, reviewed U.S. Census data and discovered owning a home is more of an unlikely reality for Blacks than an American dream. He calls it an “embarrassment.”

“The fact that after the Fair Housing Act, after the Civil Rights movement, after the election of the first Black president that we’ve gotten worse, said Shadi Bushra with Today’s Homeowner. “Part of it tells me that there has been a certain benign neglect of this cause.”

Analysts found southern states are fairing better, despite a history of discriminatory housing practices. States such as Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama have some of the narrowest gaps while some of the biggest gaps between Black and white homeownership are in midwestern states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

“Black homeowners are generally less resilient, we can say, to economic shocks like the Great Recession,” Bushra said which explains why Nevada, which was hit particularly hard, has not improved its homeownership among Blacks since 2009.

Banks also became more strict with loans when the housing crisis hit.

Following a lawsuit for discriminating against Black homeowners, Wells Fargo Bank worked to help close the gap between minority groups and whites.

“Since we are the largest mortgage originator and the largest bank originator to Black families in the past decade, we need to be part of the solution,” said Valeria Esparza-Chavez with Wells Fargo home lending program for Asian and Hispanic segments.

The bank offers a special-purpose credit program for current borrowers. It has set aside $150 million to help buy down interest rates and help Black families refinance their home loans.

“We all should make out best efforts to turn those numbers around because there are opportunities,” Nevada realtor Tony Swaggerty said.

He helped the Jones find their home and said communities often face a shortage of information and guidance when it comes to buying a home.

Wells Fargo is holding a virtual home loan education fair on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 a.m. (PT). You can get more information below.

Wells Fargo recommends prospective home buyers pay down credit card debt and get on a budget before applying for a home loan.

The Jones hope their story as first-time homebuyers will encourage others in the Black community to consider looking into making that move.