Struggles continue in Des Moines' redlined district
Households in Des Moines' historic redlining district are some of the most likely to face insecurity and seek help from a food pantry, according to a new report by the Des Moines Area Religious Council.
Why it matters: The redlined neighborhoods that lacked investment 90 years ago — many of which are on the city's south and east sides — are still suffering from economic instability and lower home ownership rates, according to DMARC.
- For example: Some of the homes at the highest risk for flooding are in the redline district because their foundations are falling apart and they lacked home aid decades ago.
Get smart: After the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt gave aid to Americans who wanted to buy homes by offering federal-backed loans and guaranteeing mortgages.
- Maps were drawn to exclude Black families from the aid. Neighborhoods that were deemed a "high risk" for lending would be categorized as C or D districts. That designation could occur if just one Black family lived there as well.
Zoom in: Out of all the food pantry users in the Des Moines metro, about 43% of them live in a former C or D district, said Luke Elzinga, spokesperson for DMARC.
- People of color are also more likely to live in those areas and seek food assistance.
- 55% of multi-race Hispanic families that visited DMARC's food pantries lived in one of those districts compared to just 38% of white food pantry users.
The big picture: Solving food insecurity requires a holistic approach, Elzinga said. Factors like improving affordable housing options and childcare factor into economic stability.
- DMARC plans on further researching what's happening today in Des Moines' redline districts.
- "I don't think it's enough to just say, 'Hey, look, there's these disparities,' but helping people understand how we got here," Elzinga said.
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