Saint Paul property owners who want to remove old race-restrictive covenants from their properties may do so now through the Just Deeds program approved by the City Council last month. The covenants are legal clauses in property deeds that were used to keep people of color or certain religious faiths from owning and renting homes in particular areas of the city. They began showing up in the Twin Cities in the early 20th century and were outlawed in Minnesota and most of the United States in the 1960s. However, the language remains in many deeds, though homeowners may not be aware of it.
Saint Paul and other municipalities that are participating in the Just Deeds program are working with the University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice organization, according to Saint Paul City Attorney Lyndsey Olson. That group has mapped all of the properties in Ramsey County that have race-restrictive covenants, and it will work with homeowners in getting the covenants removed.
Several municipalities involved in Just Deeds are allowing property owners to remove the restrictive covenants free of charge. Saint Paul is working with Ramsey County to do the same. For more information, visit justdeeds.org.
— Jane McClure
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