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Bending Toward Justice

Bending Toward Justice
2010Fair Credit/Fair Housing

An Empirical Study of Foreclosures in One Neighborhood Three Years After Impact and a Proposed Framework for a Better Community

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North Minneapolis is not very different from the dozens of other neighborhoods in large metropolitan areas around the country. Like those neighborhoods, North Minneapolis was among the first hit by the foreclosure crisis. The majority of people who live in North Minneapolis are people of color.2 Over one-third of the neighborhood is comprised of rental property, rather than owner-occupied.3 And, approximately one-fifth of the families who live in North Minneapolis are living at or below the poverty level.4

As other demographic statistics are evaluated and the neighborhood’s history is explored, it also becomes clear that the foreclosure crisis is not the only crisis adversely affecting the lives of people who live and work in this community. There is also a health care crisis, an educational crisis, and a living-wage crisis, which each have unique causes and effects, but, ultimately, all of these individual forces feed upon each other to create an environment that undermines an ability to live a stable and healthy life.

This article uses statistics and empirical research to focus on foreclosures in North Minneapolis. It, then, uses this information to begin a larger conversation about moving toward more equity and more fairness in our society. Part I is a summary of research related to Minneapolis and foreclosures with a specific focus on North Minneapolis. Part I is not intended to paint North Minneapolis as a monolithic entity, because that would be false. The limits of statistics are well recognized and documented.5 Part I is intended, instead, to provide a baseline for discussion, using certain statistics to draw-out specific issues that may otherwise be overlooked. Part II is a brief analysis of the research in the context of questions raised by the origination of predatory loans and their aftermath both in North Minneapolis. The questions are essential in understanding the context behind the statistics presented in Part I, as well as other statistics presented by other sources. Finally, Part III concludes with a discussion of the framework for a grassroots recovery and creating lasting, systemic change based upon a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled, “Where do we go from here?”