Inside JCPRD: The FHA builds suburbia

A 1959 view of the Westbrooke subdivision in Overland Park. The area was built by Sturgeon and Taylor, prolific builders in Johnson County, during the 1940s. Johnson County Museum.

By the Johnson County Museum

In 1934, the Roosevelt Administration launched the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The agency insures mortgages made by private lenders, protecting those lenders against losses. The agency was designed to promote home ownership during the Great Depression. Private lenders, including suburban developers here in this region, helped inform the policies the FHA would use to guide its lending, transforming private practices of exclusion into the federal policy of redlining. While suburban communities around cities across the nation were built up through the FHA, people of color and those living in integrated areas were overwhelmingly denied access to FHA programs.