March 28, 2018

Community Developments: New Study Shows How the 1930s Redlining Maps Still Hurt Minorities

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  • A new study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), which compares discriminatory maps drawn in the 1930s with current neighborhood income and race data, shows that the economic and racial segregation created by the 1930s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) residential security “redlining” maps persists in many cities. It shows that of the neighborhoods deemed “hazardous” by HOLC maps in the 1930s, 74 percent are currently low-to-moderate income and 64 percent are minority neighborhoods. The study also points out that 91 percent of areas classified as “best” in the HOLC maps are middle-to-upper-income today, and 85 percent of these areas are still predominantly white. The findings show that policies that influence access to credit can have a lasting impact on housing patterns, the economic health of neighborhoods and wealth inequality for decades. (NCRC, March 27) 
     
  • The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has announced that the 2020 Census would include a citizenship question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, which was created to ensure equal access to polls, per a request from the Justice Department. A blog post by the Urban Institute highlights the potential negative impacts of introducing a citizenship question in the 2020 Census. It explains that the American Community Survey (ACS) captures citizenship data every year with a robust sample of 3.5 million housing arrangements. In addition, the blog points out that adding a citizenship question would suppress participation in the census, explaining that immigrants and their children will be further suppressed and less likely to receive their fair allocation of government funds and political representation. (Urban Institute, March 28) 
     
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the county’s housing department are proposing building apartments for faculty on school property with the goal of addressing the gap between teacher salaries and rising housing prices. County teachers would get priority for the workforce housing units, but the school system does not plan to reserve units for faculty at the schools involved. In addition, the developments would be designed so that residents and the school populations could not interact during the school day. This effort would add Miami to a number of cities across the country where schools are using their own real estate to provide more affordable housing to their workforces. (Miami Herald, March 26)
     
  • An article in CityLab looks at a study that documents the negative mental health effects of gentrification on people displaced from neighborhoods in New York City. Using hospital records and national census surveys for 12,882 residents, researchers found that displaced residents most often moved to lower-income neighborhoods, and once displaced, their rate of hospitalization for mental illness doubled compared to those who remained. The study is one of the first in the U.S. to quantify the mental health consequences of gentrification. (CityLab, March 27)

In Case You Missed It

  • As previously reported in Community Developments, the fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus spending package includes a provision that expands the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) by 12.5 percent for four years, the first expansion of the Housing Credit in ten years. An article in The Los Angeles Times points out that the expansion will result in more homes for low-income households in California - a pressing need for the state, which is in the midst of an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. President & CEO of the California Housing Partnership Matt Schwartz estimates that the 12.5 percent increase to the Housing Credit, along with the other affordable housing boosts, would generate around $250 million annually for affordable housing in California. (The Los Angeles Times, March 23) 

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