Sierra Club: From Redlining to Restorative Justice

Sierra Club, February 21, 2021, From Redlining to Restorative Justice

When we talk about clean energy and affordable housing in America, what often gets left out of the conversation are the ways in which energy insecurity and racist housing practices intersect.

Just look at predominantly Black neighborhoods throughout the country, such as Detroit, Michigan, and Columbia, South Carolina. The median energy burden of Black households in Detroit is 54 percent higher than that of non-Hispanic white households. Black families who face high energy burdens have to make tradeoffs between utility payments and other necessities, and now that burden has made those same families more susceptible to the life-threatening impacts of COVID-19.

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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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