• Oliver Scott

Redlining in Tacoma's History

This is an old map from the Richmond.edu archives, of Tacoma and it's redlined neighborhoods. In 1935, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board asked the Home Owners' Loan Corporation to look at 239 cities and create " residential security maps" to indicate the level of security for real-estate ivestments in each city. Each color indicates a level of where to fund starting at "desirable" in green zones, all the way to "hazard" zones in red.

In this 1975 report published by the Central Seattle Community Council Federation titled “Redling and Disinvestment in Central Seattle:  How the Banks are Destroying our Neighborhoods”, the practice of redlining was exposed.

It also explained a disinvestment practice which was the policy of taking in savings deposits from residents of redlined areas and refusing to return the money, whether it be in the form of a home, business, or consumer loan, to the community that provided the money. "Lending institutions made the decision that certain neighborhoods were not worthy of improving because they were dying."

After the report, the Washington State Human Rights Commission announced that a hearing would begin investigating discrimination amongst Washington lending institutions. A task force was formed that met twice a week for 6 months in an open-to-the-public discussion.

The Fair Housing Act was passed to make redlining and discrimination illegal in the sale of a dwelling, but how are cities across the US still affected by it to this day? Well, a study shows 3 out of 4 neighborhoods deemed "hazardous" on these 80yr old maps, continues to struggle economically.

The same study also turned its sights on patterns of gentrification in these same redlined zones, showing more of them have experienced a shift to middle-to-upper income. There was also a significant economic inequality between newcomers and those who have historically lived there. With gentrification at the heels of many neighbrohoods, there are ways it can be slowed and it's strongly in the hands of the community. Development shouldn't mean the displacement of current residents and businesses, even if it was set up in a divide from the start.

Get involved with your local government, stay up-to-date with workshops that are available to you in your area and spread the word however you can, to motivate others to get involved too. It's takes a village.

Update: Our next free workshop, "Business Plan in A Day" will be Oct 10th and 11th. Choose your day to attend here






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