vicious

‘Locked in a vicious cycle’

Ebony Jones thought she was one of the lucky ones. Jones, a Black woman in her 30s, inherited a home her grandfather, a World War II veteran, had bought nearly seven decades earlier with the help of his GI Bill benefits.

But when Jones and her two children moved into the house in Compton, California, which was paid off almost 40 years ago, they soon discovered that sewage sometimes backed up in the living room and that the plumbing needed to be repaired. The distressing process of securing a home equity loan introduced Jones to an American reality.

Despite Jones’ good credit score, low debt-to-income ratio, better-than-average income and several thousand dollars of savings, lenders who immediately expressed interest stopped or went quiet when they got to two questions.

What was her ZIP code? Answer: 90220. That’s Compton, 29 percent black, 68 percent Latino.

Was she married? Answer: No.

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