Persistent Poverty in Alameda County

Articles | November 20 2015

Beginning in the 1930s, the federal government extended guaranteed, low-cost loans to millions of Americans. These were provided by the Federal Housing Administration and the Veteran’s Administration to mostly White Americans and systematically denied to people of color. Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion in home loans—98% of which went to Whites (The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, George Lipsitsz, 1998). The net result was that White Americans gained wealth by purchasing homes while people of color were systematically denied the same opportunities to buy homes and accumulate wealth.

Real estate agents also adopted practices that fostered racial residential segregation. One of these was to steer people of color away from White neighborhoods, a practice documented in San Leandro for instance. Another practice was called block busting—telling White home owners that Blacks are moving into the neighborhood in order to get them to sell at a loss so that homes could be resold to Blacks at a profit.  Read more here.