HousingWire: Inside the government’s feeble fight to end redlining

HousingWire, March 29, 2022, Inside the government’s feeble fight to end redlining

Few community groups have the firepower of NCRC, which brought in nearly $40 million in revenue in 2020, in part from renting out two office buildings in downtown Washington, D.C..

But NCRC acknowledges it can only make a limited mark on combating lending discrimination. One challenge: The terms of the community benefit agreements obtained from banks are frequently not public.

“What we’ve always argued is that these community benefits agreements should be bigger than they are, but we are constrained by the regulatory landscape,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of NCRC. “Look, what the bank regulators have done has been bullshit, but I wouldn’t want them to take over and say, ‘We know what the community needs are.’”

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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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