Reveal: Warren writes to regulators on ‘disturbing pattern’ of fair housing changes

Reveal, April 24, 2018: Warren writes to regulators on ‘disturbing pattern’ of fair housing changes

Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a series of letters Tuesday to federal banking regulators and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, accusing them of rolling back anti-discrimination protections for people of color in the face of a wave of modern-day redlining.

“Over the past year, HUD has taken a number of steps that threaten to undermine existing fair housing laws and regulations,” she wrote, accusing the HUD secretary of a “disturbing pattern of undermining and failing to enforce housing and lending laws.”

The letters were the latest salvo from the Massachusetts Senator, who has taken up the issue of redlining in the wake of a February investigation from Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, which found that in 61 metros across America people of color were far more likely to be denied a home loan than their white counterparts, even when they made the same amount of money, wanted to take on the same size loan, and buy in the same neighborhood.

Since taking office, Carson has delayed implementation of fair housing rules promulgated under President Barack Obama, nixed his department’s prosecution of major anti-discrimination cases, and proposed removing the words “free from discrimination” from the agency’s mission.

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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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