Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A federal complaint accuses Milwaukee of creating ‘containment zones’ where low-income people are concentrated

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 8, 2022, A federal complaint accuses Milwaukee of creating ‘containment zones’ where low-income people are concentrated

In the complaint filed under seal in February, and unsealed in recent days, property owners James Dieter and Karen Schwenke argue the city has created “containment zones” on the near west side and other areas of the city where people of color, people with disabilities and those with low incomes are purposely concentrated in poor living conditions. That has been done by consolidating rooming houses within those areas, the complaint states.

“Within these containment zones, building codes and zoning ordinances are not enforced, blight and slums are the norm, and crime is permitted. Law enforcement contains the crime rather than stops the crime,” the complaint states.

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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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