Bloomberg: COVID-19 Is Killing Affordable Housing, Just as It’s Needed Most

Bloomberg, July 30, 2020: COVID-19 Is Killing Affordable Housing, Just as It’s Needed Most

Typically, June 30 is the biggest day for affordable housing deals in New York City. It’s the end of the fiscal year, so developers race to close deals to get funding approval and get started building, says Rafael Cestero, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based Community Preservation Corporation. One of the nation’s largest financial backers of affordable housing, the nonprofit he leads has a $3.5 billion portfolio of active construction loans and mortgages.

But this year, Cestero says, no deals closed that day — something he’s never seen in his 30 years in the business.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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