Austin talks | Here’s how black people can stay in Chicago

Recently, one of the Democrats running for governor accused the mayor of Chicago of leading a “strategic gentrification plan” to force African Americans and other minorities out of Chicago to make the city “whiter” and richer.

Whether this is true or not, we have seen a definite decline in the black population in the city of Chicago compared to other races.

Federal census figures show that in 2010, Chicago’s African American population was 895,294, or 33.2 percent of the total population. Census data released last year showed the number of black residents fell to 793,852, representing about 29.3 percent of the city’s population.

This continued a long-term decline in the African American population, as Chicago also lost 177,404 black residents between 2000 and 2010, according to census figures.

During this same period, we have seen the African American homeownership rate plummet and the African American unemployment percentages remain in double digits.

Poor housing, poor education systems, and poor infrastructure in black communities are some of the root causes of the decline of the black population in Chicago.

When there is an abundance of vacant properties in a neighborhood, property values ​​plummet and people move out, and the remaining residents carry a burden that typically results in greater population reduction, lack of commercial development, and loss of life. loss of vibrant communities.

We must also consider the lack of access to credit as a major cause of the lack of home ownership and unemployment in black communities.

A $ 1.3 million study of 80,000 people undertaken by Freddie mac revealed surprising differences in credit scores between African Americans and whites. The study compared the credit scores of members of each ethnic group, showing that whites earning less than $ 25,000 per year were likely to have better credit scores than African Americans earning between $ 65,000 and $ 75. $ 000 per year.

Overall, the study found that 27% of all credit reports belonging to whites were bad, compared to 48% of those belonging to African Americans. Only 28 percent of Hispanics have bad credit.

Researchers gave a bad rating to anyone with two overdue bills more than 30 days in the past two years, a single overdue bill 90 days or more overdue, a judgment against it, a lien against it, or a bankruptcy. .

For those who wish to apply for an FHA loan, applicants must now have a minimum FICO score of 580 to qualify for the low down payment benefit. However, if your credit score is below 580, you are not necessarily excluded from FHA loan eligibility. Blacks should take advantage of first-time homebuyers’ grants to make home ownership more affordable.

Sometimes the big banks also have policies that reduce your chances of getting credit. In 2017, JPMorgan Chase & Co. agreed to pay $ 55 million to settle a US Department of Justice lawsuit accusing him of discriminating against minority borrowers by allowing mortgage brokers to charge them more for home loans.

The US Department of Justice complaint accused the bank of willfully violating the US Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act between 2006 and 2009 and of showing “reckless disregard. For the rights of at least 53,000 African American and Hispanic borrowers.

In 2017, I teamed up with Universal Housing Solutions CDC and Dearborn Realtist Board Inc., a group formed in Chicago in 1941 by African-American real estate professionals, to fight disproportionate and unfair lending practices that block fair access to homeownership for black families.

We must continue to work to highlight discrimination in lending practices and make the process fairer.

If black people want to own their own home or business in the city of Chicago and if we want to increase the black population in Chicago, access to credit is a big factor in the equation.

It is also important that blacks in Chicago have more opportunities to contract with states, cities and counties to strengthen small black businesses, which will create more good jobs and improve the capacity of a larger number of blacks to become and remain home and business owners in Chicago.

In December, I tabled House Bill 211 and continue to work on a $ 250 million vote from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois Housing Development Authority for grants to municipalities with more than 1,000,000 inhabitants for the rehabilitation of vacant and abandoned residential dwellings. This is the type of investment that would help keep black people in the city of Chicago.

Let us continue the fight to improve access to credit and to opportunities if we are to increase the number of black owners and businesses and stabilize the black population in Chicago.

State Representative Shawn K. Ford represents Austin at the Illinois House.

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