Cleveland Scene: Cleveland Neighborhoods ‘Redlined’ in the 1930s Are the Same Ones Dealing With Lead, Sexual Assault, Poverty and Poor Internet Issues Today

Cleveland Scene, July 9, 2018: Cleveland Neighborhoods ‘Redlined’ in the 1930s Are the Same Ones Dealing With Lead, Sexual Assault, Poverty and Poor Internet Issues Today

In the process of working on a comprehensive project to examine unsubmitted sexual assaults in Cleveland, senior research associates with Case Western Reserve University’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education discovered a correlation in the data related to the legacy of housing segregation and discrimination in Cleveland and the current rates of poverty and crime within the city’s neighborhoods.

After analyzing banking and lending maps of Cleveland from the 1930s, Rachel Lovell and Misty Luminais found that although the lending practice of rejecting mortgage applications to minorities and for houses in and near specific neighborhoods populated by minorities was banned more than 50 years ago, the effects redlining, unsurprisingly, persist today.

The Cleveland redline map shows how loan officers, appraisers and real-estate professionals evaluated mortgage-lending risk in the early 1900s. The maps were tangible evidence that minority groups—particularly African-Americans—were explicitly excluded from receiving home loans.

As the two tracked the locations where unsubmitted sexual assault kits were the highest in Cleveland, they discovered they were in the same neighborhoods with the highest levels of lead found in the blood of children, the areas with the poorest internet access today, and the same neighborhoods that were redlined 80 years ago.

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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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