The third racial wealth gap policy we will be examining in this series, is the National Housing Act of 1934. This law allowed policies to guarantee federally-backed loans to white Americans, and legally allowed companies to refuse loans to Black Americans, or others who chose to live in or near Black neighborhoods. This is the practice we currently know as redlining.

Due to the racial charge in this legislation, many white Americans purchased homes in these “Grade D” Black neighborhoods and then sold “housing contracts” to Black individuals who wanted to own a home, these contracts were often triple the amount of the original cost of the house. Additionally, these contracts had the right to evict a family for any reason, with no claim to the home until the entirety of the housing contract was paid.

This practiced fed into the cyclical poverty of Black Americans, and still effects many neighborhoods today. The Des Moines Area has a history of redlining, which still effects the housing market, espeically for minority homebuyers.

The month of June recognizes Juneteenth, the celebratory date of the end of slavery in the United States. HOME, Inc. works to ensure equal housing opportunities for all members of our community, and we stand in solidarity to fight against discriminatory practices within the housing market.

To learn more about redlining in the Des Moines community, check out the work our friends at the Polk County Housing Trust Fund have done here.