The Daily Beast: How the American housing and Economic Mobility Act plans to tackle the housing affordability crisis

The Daily Beast, June 5, 2019: How the American housing and Economic Mobility Act plans to tackle the housing affordability crisis

Affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce in the United States — something which could prevent many families from buying or renting a place to call their own. The causes of this crisis are multi-faceted and its effects disproportionately impact various groups of people, including low and middle-income (LMI) families and minorities. To address this affordability crisis, a bevy of Democratic senators reintroduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act in March, offering a comprehensive plan to ensure that more individuals can become homeowners or renters. Congress is currently considering this legislation and, resultantly, many Americans may wish to know more about how the bill seeks to make housing more affordable – and what’s unique about its approach to achieving this aim.

The bill is widely supported by a variety of organizations representing many different sectors. Senator Warren notes on her website that countless housing advocates and civil rights groups have backed the legislation – and written letters of support for the bill. One of these organizations, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), writes to the Daily Beast that it supports the bill because of the financing options with which it could provide LMI communities. “Among other reasons, NCRC is supporting this legislation because it is part of our broader effort to reframe the conversation around modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and national efforts to get more lending and investments to the nation’s underserved communities,” says Jesse Van Tol, the organization’s CEO. “[The bill has] opened the national conversation in new and game-changing ways for underserved borrowers and communities.”

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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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