This report has been developed as a companion to the Commission’s 2015 Report on Coastal Act Affordable Housing Policies and Implementation. It builds on the context established in the 2015 Report, with a specific focus on the history of exclusionary housing practices and policies in California that contribute to the current lack of affordable housing in the Coastal zone and related socioeconomic and racial disparities. Staff recommends that readers consult the Commission’s 2015 Report prior to engaging with this document: https://documents.coastal.ca.gov/reports/2015/2/w6a-2-2015.pdf.
Addressing modern housing inequities in the coastal zone requires recognition and understanding of the history of intentional exclusion and marginalization that occurred across the country. In California, and in the coastal zone specifically, the housing and economic policies and practices that disenfranchised communities of color in other parts of the U.S. were successfully and broadly employed. These past policies and practices
shaped the racial and socioeconomic landscape of the coast today.
The purpose of this report was to discuss some of the key tactics used by both
government and private industry to maintain racial and socioeconomic homogeneity in communities across the country and to summarize how these practices manifested in coastal California. Although many of the housing policies and land use practices described here have been declared unconstitutional or are no longer enforced, the impacts of decades of discrimination remain. Restrictive covenants, discriminatory deeds, exclusionary zoning, and redlining all contributed to a system that limits access
to the residential, economic, and recreational benefits of the coast for disadvantaged communities. This occurred through the explicit removal and displacement of people of color and low-income communities from their homes along the coast, through racially motivated housing policies that made it impossible for communities of color to purchase homes near the coast, and through intimidation methods that made coastal neighborhoods unsafe and unwelcoming. Additionally, the federal government limited economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities in the coastal zone by restricting
funding, loan availability, and mortgage programs.