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Due to redlining practices used by banks before the civil rights movement, Blacks and other minorities were only able to receive loans for houses in neighborhoods in “less desirable” areas that had a higher risk of flooding. A new study shows that these neighborhoods are now more even more susceptible to flooding due to climate change. According to CNN, modern US flood-risk maps look a lot like redlining maps from the 1930s. These homes are now 25% more likely to be flooded than those in non-redlined neighborhoods.
Why this Matters: This study shows how the socioeconomic effects of redlining and the damage wrought by climate change can compound on each other. Flooding has already hit redlined neighborhoods particularly hard. In Chicago, Black homeowners have seen stronger storms taking over sewer systems and inducing flood damage.Though these discriminatory practices were put in place nearly a century ago, their effects have exacerbated as a result of climate change. These redlined neighborhoods are 58% nonwhite, so the damages wrought by climate change could widen the racial wealth gap between White Americans and Black and Latino Americans.
To counteract this inequity, Redfin’s researchers suggest that the federal government set aside funds for homeowners in redlined neighborhoods to weatherproof their homes and make it easier for residents to relocate if the flood risk is too high.
If not, it may be more difficult to rectify the racist practices of the last century. Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather summed up the nature of the problem for CNN Business: “It’s not like the historical practices that were discriminatorily diminished in effect. It seems like they actually increase in effect.”
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