By Rita Martinez, Development and Communications Intern
The repercussions of this devastating economic downturn have decidedly proven the significance of wealth. While those privileged enough to have such wealth remained relatively unscathed by the recession, most people will agree that its effects on the working class were debilitating. Many families struggled to pay their mortgages in a timely fashion, thereby accumulating large debts and ultimately finding themselves in a situation of economic dependence.
The existence of a wealth gap is not new- but I would like to demonstrate its magnitude I will briefly refer to Lifting As We Climb, a report which depicts the wealth gap for women of color. It reveals disturbing statistics, i.e. the median wealth of single Latina women is $120, as opposed to $41,500 for single White women. When you consider this data in times of current economic upheaval, it becomes clear why women of color are so disproportionally impacted. Their economic security is built on such shaky foundations and so losing a job or getting sick severely impacts their ability to make ends meet. Their lack of protection from such a topsy-turvy economy troubles me- and it is why I am concerned about the implications of stricter loan regulations.
I understand the need for stricter lending requirements after our current economic downturn. However, I have a problem with the way some lenders are interpreting eligibility for a loan. Most lenders require proof of income and verification of continued income for the next three years before they can approve a home loan. This is not unreasonable, but some lenders are considering maternity leave as a complete stop of income. This interpretation will deny pregnant women the ability to purchase a home and therefore accumulate wealth.