The Democratic Party’s ‘I Don’t See Color’ Homeownership Fight, Explained

The Root, October 12, 2021, The Democratic Party’s ‘I Don’t See Color’ Homeownership Fight, Explained

According to the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, the racial gap between Black and White homeownership is larger than it was in the 1950s – when banks could legally discriminate against against Black homebuyers.

The Decent Affordable Safe Housing for All Act, proposed by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, aims to close that gap but would actually increase racial inequality in the space due to its “race-neutral” design. This is because it will target first-time homebuyers, giving them $15,000 in tax-credits, irrespective of whether their parents owned any property before-hand.

Homeownership policies should instead focus on potential first-generational homeowners, whose family have not owned any homes prior to them. Seeing as 55 percent of Black people do not own their own houses, policies should be designed to increase their equity in this space rather than providing tax-benefits to all, which would further increase the racial gap in homeownership.

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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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