CityLab: How the Fair Housing Act failed black homeowners

CityLab, April 11, 2018: How the Fair Housing Act failed black homeowners

Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act, the full historical weight of banks’ discriminatory practices is still evident in the persistent racial segregation of communities. While discrimination in lending is illegal, disparities in lending are enormous. According to an investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this year, African Americans and Latinos continue to be denied mortgages at far higher rates than whites in 61 metro areas. Using the data from Reveal and other sources, CityLab has visualized how that discrimination manifests itself in two of those cities.

The gulf between black and white households in new home mortgages reflects a vicious cycle—one in which a lack of wealth blocks the creation of new wealth, a cycle spanning generations.

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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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