I think housing disparities are a huge factor in wealth disparities. Home value is a major way families build wealth in the U.S. For much of the 20th century, though, it was extremely difficult for African Americans to get a mortgage, and they were often restricted from
the newest, nicest housing by covenants or real estate practice. Even now, since most white families don't even consider buying a home in a predominantly black neighborhood, demand for those homes tends to be lower, which keeps the price down and limits wealth-building. In a vicious cycle of limited wealth, predatory lending and foreclosure have had a disproportionate
impact on African American families.
On this Friday's “The Lines Between Us” we'll see the wealth gap through the eyes of 88-year-old African-American World War II veteran Isaac Joseph Bacon. Despite having a federal pension and a West Baltimore home bought 62 years ago with the GI Bill, Bacon is struggling to pay for assisted living as his health declines.