Most of us have heard how crazy the housing market is right now. Most of us have heard all about the surge of people moving across the country due to the ripple effects of COVID-19. And you might have even heard how things are so competitive in the housing market right now that banks are starting to lend “cash offer” loans just so home buyers can even get their offer considered by the sellers.
But with all of the news about real estate and the housing market, there’s one story that you might have missed. Along with articles about real estate market trends, more and more journalists are focusing on a different aspect of the housing market. More people are talking about the hidden history, influence, and stories of real estate in our country.
Today, more and more stories investigate and explain the history of redlining, housing segregation, and real estate racial discrimination. And more and more stories talk about the impact and influence housing makes on us today.
Learning about this hidden real estate history and housing influence can be challenging. It can be difficult to hear about all of the discrimination and disparities that have gone into shaping most of our cities, towns, and neighborhoods. But, what’s great about the work of today’s journalists is that they make even the most challenging aspects simple to understand while still showing you the true facts of this housing history and real estate influence.
If you’d like to learn more about this hidden real estate history and if you’d like to educate yourself about redlining, housing segregation, and real estate racial discrimination, then we have the perfect place for you to start. Check out these 5 podcasts to learn more about the hidden side of real estate.
1. Code Switch: “Location! Location! Location!”
This episode of NPR’s Code Switch explains how where you live affects every aspect of your life and how housing segregation ties directly to racial disparities in family wealth, health outcomes, education, and policing. This episode also explains the national history that led to the neighborhood segregation we have today.
2. Hidden Brain: “Zip Code Destiny: the Persistent Power of Place and Education”
This episode of Hidden Brain looks at how two kids growing up just a few blocks apart can have radically different life outcomes. The episode interviews Harvard economist Raj Chetty and discusses his research and hard data drawn from tens of millions of people. In the episode, you’ll hear Raj Chetty explain the substantial effect your neighborhood and your early childhood education has on your lifetime economic mobility.
3. 99% Invisible: “The Epic of Collier Heights”
This episode of 99% Invisible shares the story of Collier Heights, a suburban jewel in the postwar South that encompasses thousands of acres of rolling nature. The episode tells the story of how, in the 1950s, Black community leaders in Atlanta, Georgia used the thinking of the Jim Crow South to subvert the very systems of the Jim Crow South, specifically housing segregation, redlining, and racial zoning.
4. 99% Invisible: “The Missing Middle”
This episode of 99% Invisible details how many cities today neglect to build (and sometimes refuse to build) midsize rental buildings. The episode shows how without these midsize buildings, the only substantial housing options left for city residents are expensive houses and condos. This lack of midsize buildings and lack of “middle housing” causes cities to be much harder to live in for everyone except the wealthy. This difficulty further contributes to the racial and housing segregation we see today within so many of our major cities.
5. Fresh Air: “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America”
In this episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, host Terry Gross talks with author Richard Rothstein. Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies in America that mandated racial segregation. For example, he and Terry talk about how in the past the Federal Housing Administration created redlining policies by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods and how the government agency “justified it” by saying the very presence of African-Americans lowered the property value of homes and neighborhoods. The host and the author also discuss the impact these redlining and racist policies from the past have on the neighborhoods, cities, and communities of today.
The Next Step After Listening and Learning
Even though these five podcast episodes explain and educate about so many aspects of the history and influence of housing in our country, these episodes are just a starting point. Learning about housing discrimination is just the first step. The next step is to acknowledge the harm done and to undo it.
At Alvarado Real Estate, we are committed to doing just that. We are committed to exploring and challenging the way racism is embedded within the real estate industry as a whole, and one of the ways we do that is through the initiative – OWN IT: Building Black Wealth.
The Own It initiative to Build Black Wealth
Own It is a two-part program that works to eliminate the substantial barriers to wealth and homeownership for Black families in the Greater Madison area.
The program does so by providing two key elements. First, the program hosts a Wealth Building and Homeownership course for One City families and staff. And second, Own It provides down payment funds (free and clear) of $15,000, per family.
Alvarado Real Estate Group team members have helped create this initiative. As part of our commitment towards increasing Black and brown homeownership locally, we contribute a percentage of our profits to the fund with each sale and invite our colleagues, clients, and community members to contribute as well.
Your Next Step After Listening and Learning
Similar to how these podcast episodes are just a starting point, Own It is just one way we can start to address the racist policies and practices within the real estate industry that have caused so many people and so many generations harm.
If you’d like to take the next step, if you’d like to move from analysis to action, please visit our Social Justice page to learn more about Own It, learn how you can contribute, and learn how you can actively help increase Black and brown homeownership and decrease the disparities from our cities and neighborhoods.
Visit our page here: Alvarado Real Estate Group Social Justice