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After RedliningThe Urban Reinvestment Movement in the Era of Financial Deregulation$
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Rebecca K. Marchiel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226723648

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226723785.001.0001

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The FHA in the City

The FHA in the City

Red Lines and the Origins of the Urban Reinvestment Movement

(p.50) Chapter Two The FHA in the City
After Redlining

Rebecca K. Marchiel

University of Chicago Press

This chapter follows the Chicago activists as they move from local to national organizing through the founding of National People’s Action. To do so, it recounts the little-known history of the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) mismanaged urban insurance programs of the late 1960s, which provided risk-free profits to real estate speculators. Cincotta, Trapp, and a core group of activists realized that FHA reform required changes in national policy, so they rallied dozens of “transitional neighborhood” groups from around the country to join National People’s Action in 1972. Their primary goals were to combat the “real estate speculation” bankrolled by the FHA and to replace FHA mortgages with “conventional,” non-FHA bank loans. This chapter complicates existing narratives of the FHA that largely treat the agency as static since the New Deal era. In reality, the FHA’s 1960s urban programs marked a significant shift in policy, as they created new incentives for real estate speculation in racially changing locales. And far from blind to the role of federal housing policy, urbanites living in “FHA’ed neighborhoods” shared a common frustration with the agency that laid the groundwork for the urban social movement that the book documents.

Keywords:   National People’s Action, Federal Housing Administration, federal housing policy, FHA

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