Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service: OPINION: There’s new-found momentum for affordable homeownership in Milwaukee. Let’s not mess it up, local and state leaders.

NNS, November 8, 2019: OPINION: There’s new-found momentum for affordable homeownership in Milwaukee. Let’s not mess it up, local and state leaders.

Owning a home offers stability and sustainability. Renters may not know where they will live from year to year; ownership delivers permanence. Tenants can’t control rising rents; a fixed-rate mortgage stabilizes monthly housing expenses.

Homeownership builds both wealth and community, too. Homeowners enjoy a median net worth 44 times the wealth of renters ($230,000 vs. $5,200), says the Federal Reserve Board, much of that tied to the equity in their homes. Owners are more engaged in schools, youth activities and civic organizations because they hold a stake in their neighborhoods.

But too many in our region are being shortchanged because there are too few homes for them to own. For the good of Milwaukee, we need more homes and more homeowners.

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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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