The Globe had a surprisingly in depth piece looking at the racial divides that still persist in the Greater Boston Housing market.
Naomi Cordova didn’t want to buy a home in Brockton. In fact, she was dead set against it. But the working-class city is where Cordova ended up, despite the fact that she’s employed at a tech company in downtown Boston and makes more than $90,000 a year.
With a price tag limit of$275,000, little money for a down payment, and no desire to buy a fixer-upper, Cordova, a 34-year-old single mother of Puerto Rican and African-American descent, felt she had few other options. The city, which she associates mainly with its gang violence, isn’t where she feels she belongs.
It goes on to profile the challenges which include a predominately white field of realtors steering minorities toward majority minority communities, lack of credit and savings, and fear of living in an all white community.
“The patterns are pretty persistent,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of integrated communities to choose from.”
And this segregation has persisted despite laws designed to reverse the damage done by decades of discriminatory housing practices. Some people are reluctant to leave neighborhoods where their family and friends have lived for generations; others are held back by reports of racism when black or Latino families move to white suburbs.
Finances are perhaps the biggest deterrent. People of color tend to have fewer assets and fewer family members they can borrow from — a racial wealth gap that puts them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to securing a loan.
And even when minorities achieve levels of affluence comparative to their white peers-they are still less likely to live among their income cohort and rather live among their racial cohort.
Even when they are in the same income bracket as whites, minorities in the Boston region are turned down for mortgages at a higher rate and live in substantially less well-off neighborhoods, according to a study by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston. The average white family earning $78,000 a year in metro Boston lives in a neighborhood where the median household income is $72,400 a year, while the average black household earning $78,000 a year lives in an area where the median is $51,100 a year.
We should all be ashamed of this record.
In 86 of the state’s 351 cities and towns, not a single loan was made to a black or Latino home buyer
That fact alone should sober us from the delusion that we are a progressive state because we rejected Trump and sent Liz Warren to the Senate. By many other standards we still fall woefully short in income inequality and racial equity in housing. And housing is where it all starts. De facto segregation keeps minorities locked in unsafe neighborhoods, depresses their job prospects, their education prospects, reduces their lifespan, and crams minority voters in a few districts. It’s no accident our state legislature is one of the least diverse in the country as well. This is the kind of policy area a gubernatorial candidate needs to talk about. This is the kind of policy area Marty Walsh does not have the courage to address. And this is the kind of policy area we must be talking about on this blog and in the broader activist community.