MANHASSET. N.Y. (AP) – Louis Winnick, an economist who helped guide the investments of the Ford Foundation and promoted low-income home ownership, has died. He was 85.

Winnick died Saturday at a hospice in Manhasset, on Long Island. The cause of death was mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer that his daughter Pamela Winnick attributed to exposure to asbestos when he worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II.

Winnick was born in Romania and came to Brooklyn when he was 1. He graduated from Brooklyn College and earned graduate degrees in economics at Columbia University.

He worked for the New York City Planning Commission and the Housing and Redevelopment Board before joining the Ford Foundation in 1962. He served as deputy vice president in the national affairs division from 1968 to 1986.

Winnick played a major role in the foundation’s effort to channel resources into housing, community renewal and minority enterprise following the turbulence of the late 1960s.

He was credited with steering the foundation toward making low-interest loans and equity investments in low-income urban areas. Ford, like other foundations, had previously focused on grants only, believing that investing and philanthropy should be separate.

Winnick also promoted the idea that low-income home buyers could be reliable borrowers with properly structured loans. A demonstration loan project in Pittsburgh spurred mortgage lending in poor neighborhoods nationally.

Winnick wrote many articles for academic journals, magazine and newspapers. His book, “New People in Old Neighborhoods,” published in 1990 by Russell Sage, made the case for the value of a constant flow of new immigrants into urban neighborhoods.

He is survived by his wife, Wilma, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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