not gonna dignify it with a reblog but i’m seeing shaun king’s brave and withering expose of the collusion between jay nixon and fascist murderous ferguson cops pilloried as “naderism” and hurting the democrat AG’s chances for governor in 2016
fucking liberals, i swear
Yyyup this is what I meant by throwing side-eye to Democrats like Antonio French disgustingly trying to capitalize on this for political gain, Shaun King has pointed out enough times that these are already Democrats in power creating and enforcing the racist status quo
Then in 1972, a real estate scandal of national magnitude gave additional confirmation of the abuses pervading the housing market. Involving the newly merged FHA and HUD, it was so massive in scope that it made the doings of Chicago slum landlords look picayune. The scandal involved the abandonment and ruin of over 240,000 units of housing nationwide—enough to house over one million people. In Detroit alone, more than 25,000 houses had been abandoned—about 10 percent of the city’s housing stock. The cost to the U.S. government was estimated at close to $4 billion, in preinflationary, early-1970s money. James M. Alter, chair of the Governor’s Commission on Mortgage Practices, commented, “Outside of Watergate and Viet Nam, there is no greater scandal than in FHA and HUD housing. The cities are rotting and nobody seems to be responsible.”
This FHA-HUD scandal was actually a series of scandals involving the exploitation of several different programs that had been created as a part of the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968. U.S. cities were most affected, however, by the misuse of the FHA’s 223(e) program, the one explicitly created to extend FHA mortgage insurance to low-income urban areas.
The Section 223(e) program should have been a godsend to American cities. A buyer of limited income but sound credit history could now apply for a mortgage to buy a home with as little as $200 down. Mortgage bankers were willing to lend the remainder of the purchase price to the qualified buyer, since their mortgage loan was 100% guaranteed by the FHA. In theory, both the buyer and the lender knew that the home was sound and the price fair because the FHA guaranteed loans only after inspection of the premises. In thirty years the buyer would have paid off his or her mortgage, becoming the proud owner of an investment that could be passed on to the next generation. And if, for some reason, the buyer defaulted on the loan, the mortgage company was protected from loss. It would secure the defaulted buildings from vandalism and collect the remainder of the loan from the FHA insurance pool. The FHA would then sell the vacant but protected building to another buyer.
But the program did not work out as planned. As noted, some contract sellers took available of the newly available FHA-guaranteed mortgages to “settle” with contract buyers and get the full, grossly inflated price—or something close to it—for their properties. Section 223(e) also became the linchpin of an entirely new scheme of exploitation. Much like the contract-sale scenario, this new scheme enabled speculators to buy low from whites and sell, at a triple to quadruple markup, to blacks.
It worked like this. First, the “suede-shoe boys,” as the real estate speculators were colloquially called, scoured urban neighborhoods looking for decayed buildings they could buy for the lowest possible price—say, $5,000. Next, they bribed FHA appraisers to value the buildings at vastly inflated rates. A typical corrupt FHA appraisal might claim that the speculator’s crumbling $5,000 house was actually worth, say, $20,000. With the corrupt appraisal in hand, the speculator could easily sell his slum building for quadruple its worth. Now, rather than selling the building on contract, he could recoup the full price immediately with an FHA-insured mortgage. So what if the price seemed high? The mortgage lender couldn’t lose: after all, $20,000 was the property’s appraised value, and more importantly, the loan was 100% guaranteed. As one broker explained, once the speculators “saw how they could get a mortgage commitment far in excess of [their purchase] price, zoom, it was wide open.” The gold rush had begun.
All that a speculator needed was someone to buy the building. He enticed buyers by emphasizing the low down payment—often no more than $200—rather than the final cost. In Chicago and other cities, people eager to buy buildings on such terms were easy to find. They were usually black or Hispanic, and always low-income. Given the desperate housing shortage facing low-income families, an offer of a home of one’s own for a $200 down payment was often irresistible. The speculators made the procedure seem quick and easy. They did all the paperwork, sometimes even lending the buyers the down payment. The speculators made sure that the purchasers—many of whom lacked the resources to carry their buildings’ dramatically inflated prices—qualified or an FHA-insured mortgage by doubling or tripling their stated income, while hiding their debts. This fraudulent activity was shockingly blatant. Many speculators simply picked up blank tax forms and filled in whatever income they felt the mortgage companies might require. The mortgage companies didn’t ask too many questions about these loan applications for the simple reason that the mortgages were fully insured. The creditworthiness of the borrower was of no relevance, since the company would never lose money on FHA-insured loans.
Since mortgage companies made their profits through the exorbitant service fees they charged on FHA loans, they made money on every sale, with no risk whatsoever. The mortgage companies got away with high service fees because banks and savings loans continued to redline “changing” and all-black areas and refused to make conventional mortgage loans there. While FHA-insured loans had long been a supplement to mortgage activity, they now became the only mortgage activity in town. And the companies made even higher profits on FHA-insured mortgages when these actually defaulted. This was because, in addition to service fees, the lenders also charged interest rates of 7 to 9 percent; if the borrower defaulted within the first year of ownership, the FHA paid the mortgage company the entire value of the loan, plus 7 percent interest and all the service fees, within one year instead of over thirty years. If large numbers of homes were sold to buyers likely to default, the mortgage companies stood to make a lot of money.
And large numbers of homes were sold. In the early 1970s, white working-class neighborhoods across the country were once again flooded with speculators who terrorized residents into selling low. Instead of using the traditional scare phrase “The blacks are coming,” speculators adopted a subtler, more up-to-date slogan: “This is an FHA area.” Everyone knew that it meant the same thing. Using racial anxieties to convince urban whites to sell their homes was profitable not only to the mortgage companies and the speculators but also to the banks and savings and loan companies that had originally made the mortgage loans to whites. Many older white residents had bought their homes in the 1940s and 1950s, when mortgage rates were extremely low. Now that inflation was pushing up interest rates, lenders had every reason to want to close those mortgages out. “In a community like this, older people had 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 percent mortgages,” one West Side resident explained in 1972. “The banks were unhappy about that. It was bad money. It was worth it to clean out a whole area if you can get 8 3/4 percent,” that is, the current conventional mortgage rate. She summed up the situation: speculative real estate brokers like to “keep people hating each other and fighting each other and moving” because when they are doing so, “everybody makes so damn much money.”
Waner was one of many to note that mortgage companies, like the contract sellers in their heyday, were inordinately eager to foreclose on their buyers’ overpriced homes. “If the buyer defaults on the first payment or the second payment, the mortgage company throws him into foreclosure immediately in order to pick up the windfall money,” he explained. “The more FHA buyers who default, the higher the mortgage bankers’ yield.” Mortgage companies sometimes pushed buyers to default. “If the buyer missed last month and comes in with this month’s payment, they’ll tell him, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t take it,’” Waner said. The FHA’s own records backed Waner’s claim. These showed that the foreclosure rate on 223(e) FHA-insured mortgages was not double, or even quadruple, but an astonishing seven times that of conventional loans. The repossessed buildings sometimes ended up back in the hands of the speculators, who then started the cycle anew. In a clear replication of the contract sales scenario, there were buildings resold as many as six times in an eighteen-month period. New York City’s Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Accetta described the social and emotional costs that such statistic suggested. “I don’t see how anyone who is black or Puerto Rican could have faith in the white system after being shaken down like this and then losing his house months later.”
The results of the scam could be seen in “the bombed-out appearance of may central cities, where block after block of structurally sound housing has been abandoned,” New York Times reporter John Herbers noted in 1972. Of course, while the scandal meant ruin for some, it meant huge profits for others. In Chicago, the FHA paid out at least $42 million to real estate speculators and corrupt mortgage firms. In Brooklyn, such operators received $250 million from the FHA. In Detroit, which was hardest hit by the scandal, FHA insurance payments amounted to a shocking $375 to $500 million. As Brian Boyner observed, in return for this immense payout to Detroit’s mortgage brokers and speculators, the U.S. government received “a deserted slum and the concomitant problems of rampant heroin addiction and the highest big city murder rate in the U.S.A.” Later generation had a simpler—and distorted—explanation for the desolation they saw in Detroit and other black urban areas. The devastation was caused, they insisted, by “the riots.”
Beryl Satter, Family Properties: How the Struggle Over Race and Real Estate Transformed Chicago and Urban America
I think this is the most important excerpt I have quoted from this book, and I’m pretty sure I’m just going to bookmark this and link it every single time another white person sees fit to open up their mouths about Detroit or “urban decay.”
good lesson to teach during that white history month everyones always clamoring for
iirc Ta-Nehisi Coates referenced this sort of stuff (and how widespread it was) in his really good article on The Case For Reparations.