President Biden Signs Executive Order Directing HUD to Address History of Systemic Racism

Today, President Biden signed an executive order that calls on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to “take steps necessary to redress racially discriminatory federal housing policies that have contributed to wealth inequality for generations.” 

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), made the following statement:

“I’m pleased to see President Biden move quickly to elevate the issue of racial equity at the White House and to assemble a first-rate team led by Susan Rice at the Domestic Policy Council to lead this critical interagency work. One of NCRC’s key priorities has been to see a White House Council of Racial Equity and the president’s national address today makes clear that racial equity will be at the core of the administration’s public engagements, policy design and program delivery going forward. If the pandemic recovery is to be equitable, this work must be at the forefront.

“I applaud President Biden for signing four executive orders today that will help advance the goal of racial equity. The order directing HUD to address the nation’s long history of systemic racism in housing is of particular importance to us. Acknowledging the federal government’s role in perpetuating segregation, including the lasting impacts of redlining, is essential to addressing America’s ever growing racial wealth divide.

“Home ownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream. It is the primary way that families accumulate wealth, and it has long been denied to people and communities of color. Giving HUD the authority to re-evaluate past measures and make changes to advance fair housing, combat housing discrimination and fully enforce the Fair Housing Act, is the right first step.

“But more remains to be done, and today’s executive orders won’t matter if they don’t lead to transformation. I remain hopeful that this administration is up to the difficult tasks ahead.”

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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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