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Social Issues

Study: Banks maintain foreclosed homes better in white neighborhoods
The National Fair Housing Alliance says white neighborhoods get more attention than neighborhoods of color

A foreclosed home located in Dayton's primarily black West Side.
Courtesy of Miami Valley Fair Housing
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In The Region:
Cities in Ohio and around the country are continuing to recover from the housing bust, but some neighborhoods may be having an easier time than others.

For Ohio Public Radio, WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports one study finds banks are doing a better job with upkeep of foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods than neighborhoods of color.
LISTEN: Jim McCarthy says neighborhoods of color are neglected

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The National Fair Housing Alliance worked with groups in 29 metro areas including Dayton and Toledo to inspect thousands of bank-owned homes.

What they saw was disturbing, says Jim McCarthy with Miami Valley Fair Housing.

"Properties in neighborhoods of color were neglected. They didn’t have the grass trimmed; they didn’t have trashed picked up and they were not properly marketed."

Banks and lenders appeared to be maintaining properties in white neighborhoods much better, and working harder to sell them. In Dayton, buildings with damaged exteriors, broken or boarded doors, and messed-up utilities were concentrated on the largely black west side.

McCarthy says it’s a double-whammy after the housing crisis hit hard in the same areas.

"Generations of wealth have been stripped out of the neighborhoods."

These uneven practices have been the subject of at least one settlement. Wells Fargo paid out $42 million last year in response to a federal investigation into the issue. But U.S. Bank and Bank of America have disputed the claims, saying they aren’t legally responsible for many of the properties in question.

In a statement, US Bank says it has a strong process for maintaining properties it has access to “regardless of their location.”
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