Erie's Black Wall Street is set to receive $200,000 in American Rescue Plan funding from the city.

Executive Director Kyra Taylor says the organization started out as a grassroots effort on Facebook, after Erie was ranked as the worst city for African Americans by USA Today back in 2017.

It's now a non-profit organization that helps out minorities on several levels.

The organization offers a home ownership program, which helps minorities purchase homes.

“We do the pathway to home ownership series in the month of January,” said Taylor. “Participants have to register for all of our workshops, and they have to attend every single one of them. At the end of the workshop series, we actually put their names into a random drawing. We pick five names and those five people get $5,000 towards the purchase of a home.”

Erie’s Black Wall Street also offers budgeting and financial literacy workshops, to help people who are living paycheck to paycheck.

“We also do things on credit education and repair,” said Taylor. “Participants who attend that workshop also get entered into a drawing and we select a few people to get free credit repair services.”

The ARP funding will be used to help enhance those programs.

"That means that we are able to further our impact,” said Taylor. “It means that we can now reach those who we were not able to reach before and it really means that we are solidifying ourselves in the Erie culture and being able to be a leader moving forward."

The organization will also conduct a needs assessment, to help determine the impact of COVID-19 on Black-owned businesses.

“We fully plan to reach out to every business that is on our Black business director, which we have on our website,” said Taylor. “We plan on reaching out to every one of those businesses and have conversations about where they are, where they could be, and what their struggles are.”

View the list of businesses here.

This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.