Chicago Suburbs Become First US City To Pay Repairs To Black Residents For “Redlining” – National

Chicago’s Evanston suburb became the first American city to offer restitution money to black residents whose families have suffered lasting damage from decades of segregation and discriminatory practices.

City council voted 8-1 Monday to begin distributing US $ 400,000 to eligible black residents through grants of US $ 25,000 for home repairs, down payments or mortgage payments in a snap. combating historically racist housing policies.

“I am proud of our community for taking this bold and courageous action to begin the process of redressing the racial disparities that have plagued our black community for decades,” Alderman Ann Rainey said in a statement.

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Evanston City Council in November 2019 committed US $ 10 million over a decade for the effort to redress a new legalized marijuana tax. City council members said the housing plan is just the first of what they hope will be in a series of programs to tackle past discriminatory practices in areas such as education and economic development. .

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The effort in Evanston, where about 16% of the 75,000 residents are black, could become a model for other cities and states struggling with continuing their own reparations initiatives.

The burgeoning national movement gained traction as a way to address racial inequalities after the police murder of George Floyd and other black Americans last year.

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Under the Evanston plan, a limited number of black residents are eligible to receive US $ 25,000 each if they, or their ancestors, lived in the city between 1919 and 1969 or if they can prove that they have experienced housing discrimination due to city policies.

Like everywhere in the United States, blacks in Evanston have been subjected to “redlining,” a practice in which banks have refused to grant home loans in predominantly black neighborhoods. This prevented black residents from owning homeowners, a key source of wealth.

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The practicality of implementing reparation programs, especially at the national level, is still a matter of debate.

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Some opponents question whether taxpayers can afford to shell out billions, if not billions of dollars, and wonder how eligibility would be determined.

Evanston rejects Racist Reparations, an opposition group, noted that upfront payments from the city’s housing program would only cover 16 households. The group is also opposed to restricting money to housing needs alone.

(Report by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago edited by Colleen Jenkins and Matthew Lewis)

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