The Buffalo News: ‘American dream’ still comes in black and white

The Buffalo News, July 24, 2019: ‘American dream’ still comes in black and white

More than 50 years after the federal Fair Housing Act took aim at discrimination in the housing market, and four decades after the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act did the same by shining a light on lending practices, blacks are still twice as likely as whites to be denied a mortgage, according to a new national study.

And Buffalo Niagara is no exception, according to the analysis by Clever Real Estate, a St. Louis-based online agency that pairs sellers with agents at discounted prices.

Clever used federal data to examine approval and denial rates for some 1.7 million home mortgage applicants across the 50 states.

The study’s bottom line: African American applicants are twice as likely to be denied mortgages as white applicants, even when controlling for income, according to Clever’s  “Exploring Racial Discrimination in Mortgage Lending: A Call for Greater Transparency.”

Clever found that 19% of African Americans were denied mortgages, compared to only 9% of whites.


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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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