Understanding Systemic Racism's Role in Vacancy
- A historical perspective: The Broken Heart of American by Walter Johnson
- Work Happening Now: Forward Through Ferguson's #2039 Vision
- inflated valuations of homes in lower-income Black neighborhoods to calculate property tax bills, while at the same time, consistently undervaluing homes in affluent areas, reducing the taxes those homeowners paid. inaccurate valuations gave the least expensive homes in St. Louis an effective tax rate almost four times higher than the most expensive: How Unfair Property Taxes Keep Black Families From Gaining Wealth
- If you want to engage in some professional/personal development: Community Builders Network's calendar of webinar/events that advance racial equity
- Understanding the history of St. Louis is critical to understanding our current vacancy challenge and how it disproportionately impacts Black communities. Read the Dismantling the Dividereport to understand how policies past and present shape our City today.
- In 2018, the Brookings Institute published a report called, "The devaluation of assets in black neighborhoods:
The case of residential property." The report explores the cost of racial bias in the real estate market. The authors found that owner-occupied homes in black neighborhoods are undervalued by $48,000 per home on average, amounting to $156 billion in cumulative losses.
These losses undoubtedly played into the creation and perpetuation of high-vacancy neighborhoods. As we continue to work towards a more equitable St. Louis, we can never forget the enormous disinvestment that afflicts Black neighborhoods.
- In 2019, the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic at Washington University School of Law, Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, Dutchtown South Community Corporation, and the Sierra Club prepared a report called "Environmental Racism in St. Louis." The report highlight environmental injustices that disproportionately impact people of color and low-income individuals in St. Louis and adovcates for system changes to address these injustices. April is Earth Month. Let's take this time to reflect on environmental racism and injustice in St. Louis. One aspect of environmental racism that the report addressed is vacant buildings. The report highlights, "Abandoned buildings may contain asbestos in insulation and in floor and ceiling tiles, lead-based paint, and, in the case of commercial or industrial buildings, oil, PCBs, or other chemicals. If left untreated, these properties are at greater risk to grow dangerous mold. In addition, the demolition of vacant buildings exposes residents to harmful dust, lead, and/or asbestos."
Understanding the Context