Vanity Fair: Trump wants to make mortgages more expensive for minorities

Vanity Fair, Sept. 10, 2019: Trump wants to make mortgages more expensive for minorities

Donald Trump loves to boast about how great his presidency has been for African Americans, and how awesome they allegedly think he is. “Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts, etc.) than almost any other Pres!” he tweeted during the director’s Oscar acceptance speech in February, failing, per usual, to acknowledge that the unemployment rate for African Americans declined dramatically during Barack Obama’s tenure, and has in fact been in steady decline since March 2010. “The African American community is so thankful,” he claimed in July after launching into a series of racist tirades about Baltimore. “They’ve called me and said finally someone is telling the truth,” he said, adding that “people living in Baltimore are very happy that I’m bringing out the fact that it‘s like living in hell.” So it’s effectively a forgone conclusion that he will attempt to spin the news that his plan to overhaul the United States’ housing finance system will reportedly make mortgages more expensive for African Americans, and other minority borrowers.

According to the Washington Post, Trump’s move to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which went into conservatorship during the financial crisis, would hurt first-time home buyers and low-income borrowers, many of whom are the people of color the president claims to do so much for. Not only do the government’s plans call for introducing competition that experts warn would slash access to credit for low-income communities, but they outright recommend getting rid of affordable housing goals altogether. Fannie and Freddie are currently required to ensure access to affordable loans and have a mandate to make approximately one-quarter of mortgages they back to low-income borrowers. “This plan would interject new entities that would cream the market by seeking to serve the most lucrative regions and borrowers,” Nikitra Bailey, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending, told the Post. “The very communities that need greater access to mortgage credit—communities of color, specifically—would have great difficulty securing credit.”

While the administration says affordable housing goals would be replaced with a more “efficient, transparent, and accountable mechanism,” like a fee that would go to HUD to promote affordable housing, consumer and civil rights groups are suspicious. “Essentially they are trying to shrink the government footprint in the market and introduce private guarantors that won’t have the same obligations as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

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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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