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Watch the
Video Series

Explore the history of redlining and systemic racism in housing with our 5-part video series. 

This series explores the local history of discriminatory housing policies in Des Moines, Iowa.

You'll learn how that history has impacted our developing city and what we can do about it. Mark Marturello-Artrist.jpg

for Des Moines & other Iowa cities

How did Redlining start?

In the mid-1930s, the United States was suffering through the Great Depression. President Roosevelt and Congress developed New Deal programs to help bring America out of this financial and social crisis.

Among these programs were the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These programs represented the federal government's first involvement in homeownership and mortgage lending. The agencies were to help Americans obtain home loans and avoid foreclosure. Their activities helped make owning a home a main part of the American dream.


However these housing programs and other New Deal programs were created to benefit white households. During this time, Jim Crow-era segregation heavily influenced government policy. Congress found ways to prevent people of color from participating. In housing, this played out through the system we now know as Redlining.

Why is this topic important to understand?

What are people saying?

Here is some of the feedback we've received from people who've explored this online experience.

Want to share your reaction to this history? Contact us.

"Systematic and institutional racism needs to be addressed through practice + policy change. We need more political advocates."

Honoring the historic Center Street Neighborhood

UnityPoint Health, the Polk County Housing Trust Fund and numerous community supporters gathered on October 5 to dedicate a State of Iowa historical marker honoring the historic Center Street neighborhood.


Center Street was a vibrant business and cultural hub in Des Moines’ Black community that was displaced as a result of urban renewal and the construction of the I-235 freeway in the 1960s.

Thank you to our sponsors


Wells Fargo

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Mid Iowa Health Foundation

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The Directors

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