The Legacy of Redlining Made Clear by the Coronavirus

Covid-19 deaths track closely to the discriminatory boundaries set by housing lenders, sponsored by the government, in the 20th century.

May 29, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


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Jeremy Németh and Sarah Rowan, both from the University of Colorado Denver,  connects the dots between the discriminatory housing practices of the 20th century and the public health risks of the 21st century.

After explaining some of the well documented connections between place and public health, Németh and Rowan focus on the public health risks, including Covid-19 fatalities, in Valverde, a neighborhood on the West Side of Denver redlined by the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation in the 1930s.

Mapping scores on the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index in Denver reveals how these clear patterns of disadvantage [created by the legacy of redlining] coincide with COVID-19 hospitalization rates," according to the article. 

The article also shifts focus to solutions, with Denver as the continuing model, and recommendations for additional measures in cities all over the country. 

In the short term, critical efforts can include widespread free testing events in vulnerable neighborhoods, along with distribution of free hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and masks, which also helps ensure that at-risk residents do not have to travel on crowded public transportation to shop for these items. This is also an opportunity to link uninsured residents to health care coverage and primary care providers.

Other measures, like the location of community health centers in at-risk neighborhoods, are also discussed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 in The Conversation

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