Welcome to the inaugural Frogtown Croaker blog post! From time to time, we will be updating the community on various happenings, events, issues, and projects going on in District 7. If you would like to contribute to this ongoing media project, email Tait at email@example.com.
We're kicking off the blog with an update on foreclosures in the neighborhood. As part of our ongoing work with the Saint Paul Fair Lending Coalition, our intern Needham has done research to give us a big picture of foreclosures and lending over the last 11 years.
The concentration of bad loans to the neighborhood has meant tragedy for many families and neighbors. Nationally, we know banks were more likely to target African Americans and other people of color for subprime loans. The NAACP reports that 54% of all subprime loans in 2006 went to African Americans. Across the country, economic and racial discrimination has been closely linked this geography of bad loans (Howell 2006).
The concentration of bad loans has also meant high vacancy rates. The home vacancy rate in Frogtown grew twice as fast as the city average over this period. The neighborhood's average vacancy rate peaked at 8% in 2008, but some areas of the neighborhood experienced rates closed to 15%.
As we noted earlier, certain areas of Frogtown were hit harder than others. The map below shows aggregated vacancy information from 2005 to 2010 for both Frogtown and part of Summit-University:
But the vacancy problem isn't just in Frogtown. Citywide we are seeing a direct correlation between the way banks treated neighborhoods and empty homes:
The east side, an area also hit with high-cost loans, is having a difficult time recovering. Vacancy continues to be a problem.
We want to hear from you! As residents, what ideas do you have to stop foreclosures? Are there vacant properties on your block? To counteract unfair lending, vacancy, and foreclosure, we've joined forces with five other organizations to form the Saint Paul Fair Lending Coalition. We're building up our coalition, and you can be a part of it. Just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sam Buffington (email@example.com) Next week, we'll post more information on what the coalition is doing, how we can work together to keep people in their homes, and hold banks accountable for their unfair lending practices.