MCAH Honors Black History Month
Prominent Black Figures in
Housing & Homelessness
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History of Redlining Overall & in Michigan:
What Was Redlining?
Among the many New Deal programs, we saw the creation of the Federal Housing Administration and the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC) to purchase foreclosing mortgages and issue amortized mortgages with lower interest rates in order to stabilize the housing market. From 1935 – 1940, HOLC developed risk maps for most cities with a large population. Across the country, 239 cities became “redlined.” Appraisers were required to grade neighborhoods in cities as: Green/Best, Blue/Still Desirable, Yellow/Declining, Red/Hazardous. Appraisers almost always colored neighborhoods as “hazardous” if Black families lived there, regardless of economic class. From there, these maps made it to private bankers and real estate groups. Racist appraisal practices became formalized and institutionalized, going so far as to encourage loans where “natural or artificial barriers” such as highways, segregated communities. As a result, Black families were kept from participating in a significant investment in middle-class American wealth. (Credit: MSU Extension, Redlining in Michigan)
Eleven Michigan cities were redlined
Battle Creek, Bay City, Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Pontiac, and Saginaw. (Credit: MSU Extension, Redlining in Michigan)
While redlining was made illegal with the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it left lasting impacts. This overlaid map of the Detroit area shows the HOLC risk assessment grades with demographic data from the 2019 Census. (Map Credit: MSU Extension, Redlining in Michigan)
Some of the present consequences of redlining include: wealth disparities, neighborhood segregation, education disparities, health disparities, credit access, gentrification pressures, and psychological impacts.
Neighborhood segregation has led to concentrated poverty and underinvestment in predominantly Black neighborhoods, affecting the quality of schools, healthcare facilities, and other public services. This in turn perpetuates educational and health disparities, with children in these neighborhoods having fewer opportunities for high-quality education and healthcare. Limited credit access hinders entrepreneurial efforts, stifling economic growth and innovation in these communities.
For more information, visit https://www.canr.msu.edu/redlining/