"Redlining" of neighborhoods, one of a number of explicitly racist United States federal housing policies in the mid–twentieth century, blocked Black households and other communities of color from accessing home mortgages—and as a result homeownership—for decades. The practice has been linked to present day racialized neighborhood poverty and ongoing negative impacts on formerly redlined neighborhoods.
In an attempt to address or mitigate decades of racist housing policies, some policymakers and jurisdictions are considering reparative policies and otherwise prioritizing Black households and others disenfranchised by past racist housing policies. Given the prominence of redlining maps and analyses that find associations between redlining and negative impacts on neighborhoods, some policy makers have focused on redlined areas as a criteria for qualifying for direct assistance.
In this brief, we explore the extent to which historical redlining patterns correlate with current risk of housing instability. Using redlining maps for more than 200 cities digitized by the University of Richmond as a base and a number of instability indicators including the Urban Institute's Emergency Rental Assistance Priority (ERA Priority) Index, eviction filing data from the Eviction Lab, and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) data, we examine the extent to which redlined areas correlate with concentrations of people who are most at risk of housing instability. It is important to note that the overall practice of restricting access to housing based on race still happens today, but for the purposes of this brief, when we talk about redlining, we mean the legacy of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).