Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC) was a government-sponsored corporation created as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. Its purpose was to refinance home mortgages, which were in default, in order to help prevent foreclosures.
The HOLC is often cited as starting the practice of mortgage redlining. Redlining is the process of denying services to residents of certain areas based on the racial composition of those areas. The term comes from the maps, created by the HOLC, which marked in red the areas where the banks would not invest. The result of these maps was that residents in the more affluent and largely white neighborhoods were far more likely to receive financing under the New Deal. Residents in the poorer and black communities were deemed more of a financial risk and so were less likely to receive financial support.
You can explore examples of redlining maps from across the United States on the Mapping Inequality website. Using the Mapping Equality map you can zoom in on locations to view HOLC maps created for a number of American cities. When you view one of the historical maps the map sidebar provides details on the local population and the percentage of the city which was redlined on the HOLC map of the city.