City Limits: This Year, Running for President Means Talking About the Housing Crisis

City Limits, February 10, 2020: This year, running for President means talking about the housing crisis

More than in any campaign in recent memory, housing has become a key topic in the 2020 presidential race, reflecting a national housing crisis spanning from megacities like New York and San Francisco to smaller urban centers like Cleveland and rural areas like Randolph County, Georgia.

According to some research, home prices in 70% of the country are more than average household can afford. The Pew Charitable Trust found that in 2015, 38% of all renter households were rent burdened, an increase of about 19% from 2001. In South Bend, Ind., where Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg is mayor, there are 400 homeless households. In former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s town, there are nearly 60,000 people living in homeless shelters. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, almost 7 million housing units are needed to make up for the lack of affordable housing stock in the country.

Last June, the Trump administration took steps that could have a heavy impact on the future of housing, such as creating a White House Council, chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, which will look at ways to reform local zoning laws that prevent the construction of multifamily housing units. Six months later, HUD proposed a revision to the Obama administration’s anti-discrimination Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule; Secretary Carson proposed that rule’s implementation and method be left up to local jurisdictions rather than the federal government.

[Jenny] Schuetz believes the housing policy discussion needs to expand even more, to discuss the environmental impact—especially in the context of climate change—of building housing in car-dependent suburbs, and to address the role of housing value in perpetuating the racial wealth gap.

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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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