NCRC statement on American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2021 (S. 1368, H.R. 2768)

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver Propose New Vision For Affordable Housing And Economic Opportunity

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today (April 23, 2021), U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), joined by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) in the House, re-introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act.  The legislation expands the scope of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and updates where and how banks are examined under the law. It also provides a comprehensive policy approach to the nation’s affordable housing crisis and the country’s legacy of redlining and discriminatory lending.

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (www.ncrc.org), made the following statement:

“Senator Warren and Congressman Cleaver present a vision for updating the Community Reinvestment Act that places the well-being of lower-income communities at the center of it. Strengthening and expanding the reach of CRA and duties to serve throughout the financial sector has to be at the forefront of policy questions about racial equity, the racial wealth gap and expanding financial inclusion for lower income communities. 

“The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act also tackles the increasing rent burden, the dearth of affordable housing and barriers to homeownership faced by millions of Americans.  Our organization has released a series of reports showing that too many neighborhoods redlined almost a century ago remain underinvested today. The financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic has set back these communities further. The nation has to be focused and deliberate about addressing these longstanding disparities and ensuring an equitable recovery from the pandemic.

“This bill would directly address decades-old injustices –  launching a new program for first-time homebuyers living in formerly redlined areas and extending the post-World War II GI bill’s guaranteed home loans to the descendants of veterans who were prevented from accessing the benefit because of discrimination. These steps are long overdue. The legislation would also create new incentives for local communities to eliminate land use restrictions that impede the production of affordable housing.

“By making modest adjustments in the estate tax and policies around intergenerational wealth transfer, the nation can make a historic investment in addressing racial inequities and the renters and home buyers of the future – providing the next generation of Americans the opportunity to build wealth.  

“Senator Warren and Congressman Cleaver have outlined a broad commitment to safer and more accessible economic opportunity in neighborhoods, communities, cities and rural areas across the country. This legislation should have the support of every fair-minded member of the House and Senate.”

More: NCRC’s summary of Section 203, Strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, of the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2021.

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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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