Flood waters reveal lasting impacts of racist 1930’s redlining practices in Sacramento

While the sun is shining now in the Sacramento neighborhood of Gardenland, neighbor Edwin Raymundo said Sunday’s storm was a different story.

“For sure, the area around me, the whole street, it was flooded; cars all over here, they couldn’t get through,” Raymundo said. “I got kind of scared because the levy is here, and I thought it was going to flood or something because I live right next door.”

According to data collected by Redfin, neighborhoods that suffered from redlining in the 1930s face twice the risk of flooding today. Gardenland is one of them, along with Tahoe Park, Oak Park and Upper Land Park.

“In Sacramento, 22% of homes in red- and yellow-line areas are in risk of flooding compared to 11% in the green- and blue-line areas, and that was the biggest disparity we saw in the whole country,” Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s Chief Economist, said.

According to Redfin, the greatest risk for flooding in Sacramento comes from creeks and neglected infrastructure. In the 1930s, assessors redlined areas with racial minorities as undesirable for mortgage lending, nearly half of the households in those neighborhoods are nonwhite.

“Climate change becomes more and more of a reality. Flooding will become more and more frequent in these homes, and residents in these areas are going to again experience the worst of the housing market,” Fairweather said.

ABC10 reached out to the City of Sacramento regarding the disparities. They said the City of Sacramento regularly conducts work on its flood-control system whenever and wherever it is needed. The City is also working with community members and the national nonprofit racial justice organization Race Forward to develop the citywide “Sacramento Centered on Racial Equity.” Those tools will take into account historical inequities including those created by discriminatory practices like redlining.