The Washington Post: ‘Greenlining’ Heals The Historic Injustice Of Redlining

The Washington Post, March 9, 2023, ‘Greenlining’ Heals The Historic Injustice Of Redlining

The United States faces an enormous housing shortage and pricing crisis. If we want any semblance of equity in our cities, we must address this urgent need for more affordable housing, while mitigating the alienation and displacement produced by gentrification. As a South Side Chicagoan who has dedicated his career to economic justice and civil rights, I know there is a solution: equitable development.

In 2016, while standing on the porch of my childhood home in Woodlawn, Chicago, I saw the same vacant lots and blighted buildings that had been there since I was a boy. This scene of abandonment was a legacy of systemic disinvestment and redlining. If no one else was going to change this, I would. I founded Greenlining Realty USA that year to develop housing in a way that reverses the effects of redlining in and with communities.

Greenlining Realty has built and rehabilitated nine high-quality single and multi-family homes in Woodlawn, including my childhood home. We’ve done this with community partners: the Cook County Land Bank Authority, the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the YMCA Laura Parks and Mildred Francis Center, which provided abandoned land and connected residents with us for employment opportunities. Together, we created Woodlawn Pointe, with the real community feel that I experienced as a kid — livable, walkable and playable.

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