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Removing racial covenants in Idaho

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Ada County Clerk
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This form, to remove racial covenants from homes, is available at all county clerk offices in Idaho

Idaho has a long history with racial injustice and one of many examples was discriminatory housing practices with racial covenants and redlining.

This practice wasn’t unique to Idaho. The language was widespread in the United States with massive subdivisions built following World War II excluding non-white buyers.

During the 2022 Idaho Legislature session, state Sen. Melissa Wintrow brought a bill to change this language. As of July 1, Idaho homeowners can now ask for that language to be removed from their property deeds.

“This law shines a light on the fact that the U.S. government and state governments actively deprived people of color access to the American dream and that has long-lasting effects over generations. Because property is the way we pass down generational wealth. People can get ahead that way,” says Senator Wintrow.

She says by incorporating racist attitudes, values and beliefs into law, a system of discrimination is created.

“This doesn't erase decades or centuries of discrimination, but it does finally acknowledge that the state played a part in this and that we need to address this and denounce it going forward,” according to the Senator.

Joining Idaho Matters to talk more about this, and the history behind racial covenants are Senator Wintrow, Mckay Cunningham, professor at the College of Idaho, and Zoe Ann Olson, Director of the Idaho Fair Housing Council.

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Hi! I’m Gemma Gaudette, the host of the award-winning show, Idaho Matters. During the day you’ll find me researching and writing about all the fascinating topics we tackle on our show. And of course, at noon, each weekday you’ll find me live behind the microphone as Idaho Matters airs.