Virginia Mercury: As he talks equity, Gov. Northam continues to ignore Union Hill

Virginia Mercury, March 28th, 2019: As he talks equity, Gov. Northam continues to ignore Union Hill

Red meant “hazardous,” or “Warning: Do not approve loans to people in these areas and if you do, jack the rates up. These are undesirable locations. No one wants to live next to these people and the people who are in the red areas won’t pay you back anyway.”

The primary characteristic of “red-lined” communities? Black people. One example from the city of Tacoma, Wash., underscores this point. One community in Tacoma was deemed a “red community.” But there was a footnote in the HOLC manual. And it reads, “This might be classed as a ‘low yellow’ area if not for the presence of the number of Negroes and low-class foreign families who reside in the area.”

In the 1930s, Newport News cracked the top 10 as one of the most redlined-cities in America, with more than 57 percent of the city deemed “hazardous.”

Last year, 50 years after Congress passed the Fair Housing Act and banned these discriminatory practices, a massive study was released by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, which researched how redlined communities have or have not changed over the years. It found that two-thirds of the neighborhoods redlined 50 to 80 years ago are majority-minority communities today, and 74 percent of redlined communities remain low- and moderate-income to this day.

Conversely, 85 percent of “green” communities 50 to 80 years ago are majority-white today, and 91 percent of these communities are middle-to-upper income communities today.

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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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