USA: Racial inequalities in housing extend to flood buyout programs

Source(s): Environment & Energy Publishing
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By Daniel Cusick

Government buyouts of flood-damaged homes disproportionately benefit whiter, wealthier communities, even as low-income and minority homeowners are more likely to participate in such programs, according to new research from Rice University.


The phenomenon is especially prevalent in urban areas and is an unintended outcome of other discriminatory housing practices like mortgage redlining and renter refusal based on race or other factors, the researchers found.


“Cities have neighborhoods forged through long histories of racial segregation that live on to create unequal access to opportunities in good times and bad, as well as in ways that can accumulate across multiple of steps of housing transactions, even when the buyer is a government agency,” according to the study published in the sociology journal Socius.


Even so, American urban areas “have become ground zero for one of the federal government’s leading climate adaptation programs,” Elliott said. And as home buyouts increasingly are used to help communities adapt to climate change, examination of the programs’ inherent biases is essential, he added.


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Hazards Flood
Country and region United States of America
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