The Detroit News: Kamala Harris’ Claims on COVID-19 Businesses Loans Not Whole Truth

The Detroit News, September 24, Kamala Harris’ Claims on COVID-19 Businesses Loans Not Whole Truth

This claim that only one Black owned business in Michigan received financial support remains unclear because 81% of restaurants in Michigan did not answer the race and ethnicity question for the PPP loan, and 75% of PPP loans did not include a demographic question. Multiple studies have still shown large differences in the treatment of Black-owned businesses on the loan process.

While there is evidence of racial disparities among those receiving PPP loans, the claim by Harris is based on a small portion of data and doesn’t tell the whole story.

Of the 792 Michigan full-service restaurants that received at least $150,000 in loans through the program, only one reported its owners were Black or African American, according to U.S. Small Business Administration data.

But 617 of the full-service restaurants, or 78%, didn’t answer the question about the race or ethnicity of their owners.

In addition, two Michigan fast food and carryout restaurants — a different classification from full-service restaurants — that are Black or African American owned received PPP loans of more than $150,000, according to the federal data. And 26 other Black or African American owned restaurants in Michigan received PPP loans of less than  $150,000, according to federal data.

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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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