CLARKE INTRODUCES RESOLUTION TO ADDRESS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN REDLINING
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) introduced a Resolution to formally acknowledge the racist history and lasting impact of redlining in the United States.
This resolution explicitly addresses the federal government’s role in systematically excluding marginalized communities from the most significant pathway to cultivating wealth in our nation’s history, homeownership.
“Redlining has a painful history in our nation. The Federal Housing Administration, which was established in 1934, furthered efforts to continue segregation by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods. Simultaneously, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass-producing entire subdivisions for whites — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans. Many of these harmful and archaic practices were addressed in the Fair Housing Act of 1968, however, communities of color that were prohibited from buying homes in the 1940s and ’50s and even into the ’60s, by the Federal Housing Administration, gained none of the equity appreciation white communities were afforded,” said Clarke. “I introduced the National Redlining Resolution of 2021 to address the government’s role in redlining and housing discrimination that exacerbates the wealth gap between white communities and communities of color. Institutional barriers to homeownership, racism, and racist policies have made the American Dream nearly impossible for many communities of color. These problems will persist for future generations absent direct acknowledgment and intervention from the federal government.”
Through the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), the federal government effectively created the 30 year amortized mortgage. Before this, most mortgages were three to five years and had high-interest rates limiting access to homeownership. However, the 30-year mortgage was not made accessible to all. Instead, HOLC issued detailed maps subdividing the entire country to assess potential borrowers’ credit-worthiness based on neighborhood demographics like race and ethnicity. These maps allowed banks to justify discriminatory lending practices across the country, reinforcing segregation that already existed and integrating segregation into newly developed suburbs’ social fabric.
The impacts of redlining are far-reaching, spanning inequitable access to quality education, job opportunities, and has continued to advance the Racial Wealth Gap in our nation. Many disparities involving the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on communities of color can also be linked to redlining’s long-term implications. Today, nearly three in four redlined neighborhoods remain low-wealth, and the fourth is often a gentrified neighborhood that has purged all previous tenants.
“Communities of color — particularly Black families — were prohibited from buying homes in planned communities and suburbs during a time when they were affordable to through a FHA or VA mortgage. Today, many of those homes sell for six to eight times the national median income. I’ve seen this in my district, home prices skyrocket, and many communities of color simply can not afford to purchase. Black families’ incomes are approximately 60 percent of average white incomes. However, Black families’ wealth accounts for only about 5 percent of white wealth. Historically, most middle-class families in this country cultivate their wealth from their home’s equity,” said Clarke. “Black families have been historically subjected to discriminatory and predatory lending. Sadly many of these practices continue to impact our communities. As week seek to combat systemic racism and change our civil society, we must elucidate and condemn Redlining in favor of a more equitable future.”
Text of the Formally Acknowledging the Impact of Redlining (FAIR) Resolution can be found HERE.
Congresswoman Clarke is joined by 32 other members of the House of Representatives in introducing the Formally Acknowledging the Impact of Redlining (FAIR) Resolution, including Congressmembers Terri Sewell, Alma Adams, Barbara Lee, Gwen Moore, Ayanna Pressley, Robin Kelly, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Stacey Plaskett, Andre Carson, Bennie G. Thompson, Donald Payne, Joyce Beatty, Sanford Bishop, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Anthony Brown, G.K. Butterfield, Alcee Hastings, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Steven Horsford, Sheila Jackson Lee, Hank Johnson, Brenda Lawrence, Gregory Meeks, Bobby Rush, Mary Gay Scanlon, Marc Veasey, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Nydia Velazquez, Mondaire Jones, Jamaal Bowman, Jahana Hayes, and Ritchie Torres.
Yvette D. Clarke has been in Congress since 2007. She represents New York’s Ninth Congressional District, which includes Central and South Brooklyn. Rep. Clarke is a Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a Senior Member of the Committee on Homeland Security
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