Redlining Community Dialogue

The Office of Redevelopment Strategies has launched an interactive story map that illustrates the modern day consequences of redlining in Louisville. With the launch of this map, a year-long community conversation will take place to address the issue of redlining in our community. Redlining, which takes many forms, is most commonly the practice of denying loans in certain neighborhoods because of race or socioeconomic characteristics.  
 
The Home Owner’s Loan Corporation (HOLC) was created in 1933 by the U.S. federal government to bolster the housing market and homeownership opportunities across the nation. The HOLC created residential securities maps, better known as redlining maps, to guide investment in U.S. cities. These maps assigned grades to neighborhoods to indicate their desirability for investment. Black, immigrant and low-income neighborhoods were often given low grades, eliminating their access to mortgage insurance or credit for decades. Although the HOLC was discontinued in 1951, the impact of disinvestment resulting from redlining is still evident in Louisville and most other U.S. cities today. 
 
“Our city defines compassion as providing citizens the tools and support to reach their full human potential,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Through the past and present forms of redlining, there are unnecessary hurdles being placed in front of residents to reach that potential. This map and data will help spark a community conversation that intends to remove those hurdles.”
 
Local urban planner Joshua Poe has developed an interactive story map entitled Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class and Real Estate. This map illustrates the ways that redlining affected housing development, disinvestment and lending patterns in Louisville since the 1930s. By layering data sets such as vacant properties, building permits and property values, the map displays how the redlining that was devised in the 1930s has had consequences that remain evident today.
 
Conventional redlining still exists. Examples include refusal to provide delivery in certain areas, business loan denials regardless of creditworthiness and refusal to write property insurance policies or dropping property owners from insurance coverage altogether. Other forms of redlining, referred to as reverse redlining, also exist. Examples of reverse redlining include offering services low-income residents at higher prices, higher interest rates and excessive service fees or inferior products such as payday loans, cash advances, and expedited tax returns. 
 
With the launch of the interactive map, the city is convening a year-long community dialogue to gain understanding, to collect ideas and to formulate recommendations that support citizens’ wealth-creation, homeownership and development opportunities in west Louisville and other areas experiencing disinvestment. By beginning this dialogue, the city intends to acknowledge the past and better our future by removing hurdles that prevent residents from reaching their full human potential. 
 
“Today is an opportunity to begin talking openly about many of the systematic and institutional challenges faced by everyday people trying to get ahead. Some of our neighborhoods need basic services or amenities that may be taken for granted in other areas of town. We hope to bring light to these challenges and find innovative ways to stimulate investment, stabilize housing conditions and improve overall quality of place for impacted areas.”
 
Three scheduled public events will be held to discuss the various impacts of redlining in our city. Details of those events are as follows:
 
  • February 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Louisville Urban League hosted by the Louisville Urban League and Greater Louisville Project,
  • March 28 at 5:30 p.m. at New Directions Housing Corporation hosted by New Directions Housing Corporation, Human Relations Commission, and Metropolitan Housing Coalition,
  • April 26 at 5:30 p.m. at YouthBuild Louisville hosted by The Center For Health Equity and YouthBuild Louisville.
Additionally, volunteer ambassadors will be educated on map information and trained to lead discussions throughout the community. These ambassadors will be encouraged to go out to neighborhoods, present the information and record the thoughts and ideas provided by community members. If you would like to be an ambassador or if you are an elected official or local organization that would like to provide their support to this effort, please contact one of the partners below or visit the Office of Redevelopment Strategies website. Residents can also provide their thoughts by visiting the Office of Redevelopment Strategies’ website and on social media using the hashtag #EraseTheLines.
 
Supporting Agencies & Organizations
Metro Human Relations Commission
Louisville Urban League
Greater Louisville Project
Metropolitan Housing Coalition
New Directions Housing Corporation
YouthBuild Louisville
Anne Braden Institute for Social Justice Research
Metro Center for Health Equity
Metro Office of Safe & Healthy Neighborhoods