Redeeming the American Dream: A conversation on housing equitability and gentrification in San Antonio

In Trinity Professor Christine Drennon’s presentation “Redeeming the American Dream: A conversation on housing equitability and gentrification in San Antonio,” she examines government policies that made obtaining the American Dream nearly impossible for African American and Mexican communities in San Antonio.
The Jan. 14, 2018 DreamWeek presentation continued with a panel moderated by Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association president Brian Dillard discussing the implications of historic inequity and possible solutions.

Panel Members:

  • Diego Bernal, State Rep. Texas House District 123
  • Victoria Lin Gonzalez, Senior Policy Advisor, Mayor Ron Nirenberg
  • Pedro Martinez, Superintendent, San Antonio ISD
  • Lourdes Castro Ramirez, President, UHS Foundation, Chair of Mayor's Housing Policy Task Force
  • Stephen W. Yndo, Chair, Urban Land Institute and Owner Yndo Commercial Real Estate Company

Replay video of Drennon’s presentation and the panel discussion here and scroll down for more of this article.

Panel discussion:

For many families, the accumulation of wealth and the achievement of the American dream is derived from home ownership.

Drennon showed how the federal government would only back banks to make home mortgages in areas deemed worthy,  i.e. communities with higher concentration of white families. That left communities of color literally redlined, deemed not a good investment. 
While the federal government discontinued the discriminatory policy of redlining, the negative effects continue to exist, her presentation showed
One of the results of this policy was that school districts were shaped by the federal loan policies.
The concentration of wealth meant well-funded schools in some areas, while the concentration of poverty created struggling school districts elsewhere. 
Drennon said any government solutions that correcting the inequality must not look to treating everyone the same, or else the status quo will be maintained. 
The decades of disinvestment in communities of color means it will take more than treating everyone equally to level the playing field, she said.
Since the federal government’s reversal of their loan policy, what are the laws in place now that continue to fuel inequality?
What changes can be implemented to foster investment in struggling neighborhoods without pushing out existing residents? 
These were some of the questions tackled in the panel discussion.