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Fresno's Troubled Housing History

The crisis facing many Fresno renters is nothing new. A history of housing in the city shows how, since the late 19th century, poor housing conditions have been "ingrained in Fresno's culture."
May 27, 2016, 11am PDT | Elana Eden
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David Prasad

"Fresno’s substandard housing crisis has been in the making since the city’s birth,” the piece in the Fresno Bee begins. “It’s a story of poverty, racism, urban sprawl and neglect."

Like that of so many other American cities, it’s a story propelled in part by racist housing covenants and redlining, and legal responses to these practices that tended to change how, not whether, discrimination was enacted. The city and federal government also attempted to replace substandard housing through public housing in the 1950s and urban renewal projects in the 1960s, some of which sited highways through low-income communities.

By 1992, since discovering that "tearing out blighted areas did not eliminate social problems," the city was found to have ignored more than 1,300 homes with poor health and safety conditions, many in low-income neighborhoods of color.

The history lesson is part of a special report on housing called "Living in Misery."

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Published on Sunday, May 8, 2016 in Fresno Bee
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