- Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act
- Volume 4, Number 3
- Managing Editor: William F. Heenan
Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act
Susan M. Wachter, Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research.
Since 1968, equal housing opportunity has been a Federal commitment. But to reach what President Clinton has called "One America," it must be a national necessity. Today, we can celebrate 30 years of great achievement -- but the fact remains that there is much to be done before the American promise of equal housing is fulfilled.
In some ways, housing discrimination is even more insidious today than it was 30 years ago. It is often less visible, more subtle. It is not only the "discrimination with a fist" of old, but today it is more often "discrimination with a smile." We must take steps to combat it because any kind of discrimination slams the door of opportunity to minorities, persons with disabilities, and families with children.
In 1997 HUD launched a nationwide crackdown on housing discrimination as part of the President's "One America" initiative. Since then, HUD has increased enforcement actions involving housing discrimination, doubling the previous rate. Additionally, the Department won extra funding for programs to fight housing discrimination. The Fair Housing budget was raised from $30 million in HUD's FY98 budget to $40 million in FY99.
We are working overtime to make sure that fair housing laws are enforced. That means helping a fair housing group in Virginia that used HUD funds to test for racial discrimination and won a record $100 million judgment against a major home insurer. But, it also means helping a single African-American family in West Virginia win $10,000 in punitive damages from White neighbors who harassed and threatened them.
To help us rededicate America to the spirit of freedom, justice, and equality that led to the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act in 1968, HUD will conduct a major audit of racial and ethnic discrimination in housing. This effort will provide us with local and national "report cards" on rental and sales markets that allow us, for the first time ever, to track progress over time. These report cards will help local communities, private fair housing advocates, and the Federal Government better understand the ways in which minorities and other protected groups are denied equal treatment. They will help HUD shape its campaign in the 21st century to end the scourge of housing discrimination.
On behalf of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I commend this collection of essays to your attention. I welcome your interest, and I trust you will join us in our Nation's journey toward a more just society, toward "One America," toward a new century of promise.
Xavier de Souza Briggs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research, Evaluation, and Monitoring.
One of the commitments that attracted me most as I made the decision to join the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) a year ago was PD&R's aggressive, long-standing program of research and knowledge building on a variety of race/ethnicity, fair housing, and neighborhood integration issues. In our own research over the past few years on the controversial but very constructive housing and school desegregation in Yonkers, New York, my colleagues and I wrestled with the difficulties of understanding both the practical (programmatic) and social science implications of mandates to fulfill our Nation's commitment to fair housing. The most important issues hit home "above and below the neck," as one teacher I know likes to say. That is, these issues challenge not only our concepts and methods, but our emotions and values as well. We all know that much remains to be done and to be learned if we are to function as "One America," in President Clinton's words.
The collection of essays in this issue of Cityscape provides eloquent and forceful testament to HUD's commitment to the struggle for equal justice in housing. This volume includes reflections by two of the main congressional architects of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, Senator Edward Kennedy and Former Representative Charles Mathias, who convey their sense of the importance of this landmark legislation enacted just days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to these legislators' reflections, a distinguished group of social science researchers, civil rights lawyers, and activists offers their views about both of the topics that should concern us at this historic juncture -- both how far we have come and how much remains to be done to ensure continued progress. This discussion is particularly crucial in an era that has challenged core notions of civil rights protections and of how far we should go in America to promote equality.
Here at HUD, we have updated and strengthened a program of research in the area of "Promoting Equal Housing Opportunities" -- one of seven key policy areas on which this office will focus over the next several years. Our first and foremost interest is tracking the nature and extent of housing discrimination as currently experienced by the Nation's major racial/ethnic groups: Latinos, African Americans, Asian Americans, and American Indians. Just recently, HUD announced a $7.5-million effort to test for such discrimination in urban, suburban, and rural communities around the country. This is an effort to create the first-ever "report card," at both the local and national levels, on the state of discrimination in housing rentals and sales. We are pleased that HUD's pioneering approach to "audit testing" will very likely be emulated in the nonhousing arena of economic life and in other parts of the Federal Government in years ahead.
As for other areas of interest, we have research aimed at identifying how we may broaden the housing search and expand the housing choices of some of this America's poorest families, most of whom depend on private, nonsubsidized rental units for basic shelter, family well-being, and access to economic opportunity. Additional research is aimed at understanding how the real estate and mortgage-lending industries have responded to the challenges of fair housing. Because the will and the capacity to affect positive change are both dependent on good information, we believe that knowledge-building is central to the task of addressing the persistent problems of discrimination and segregation that troubleAmerica's housing markets and community life. As such, we welcome suggestions for additional areas of inquiry from scholars, advocacy organizations, and others with the vision to understand and shape the role of knowledge-building. We welcome the investments of new partners in these efforts to build and use knowledge creatively.
I close by commending the guest editors for this collection -- our own Dr. John Goering here at PD&R and Gregory Squires of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee -- for convening this panel of experts and offering so many important thoughts on speeding our Nation's progress toward social justice, with fair housing as a key part.
Managing Editor: William F. Heenan
Guest Editors: John Goering, Gregory Squire
University of Pennsylvania
Norman J. Glickman
New School for Social Research
Steven P. Hornburg
Helen F. Ladd
Wilhelmina A. Leigh
Laurence E. Lynn, Jr.
Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research strives to share HUD-funded and other research on housing and urban policy issues with scholars, government officials, and others involved in setting policy and determining the direction of future research.
Cityscape focuses on innovative ideas, policies, and programs that show promise in revitalizing cities and regions, renewing their infrastructure, and creating economic opportunities. A typical issue consists of articles that examine various aspects of a theme of particular interest to our audience.
John Goering, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Gregory Squire, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The thirtieth anniversary of the national Fair Housing Act is an occasion for mixed emotions and for partial celebration. The law was enacted in spring 1968, shortly after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the resulting riots, and many decades after President Truman had ordered the racial desegregation of the military. It also followed several years of other pathbreaking civil rights laws that had been enacted covering employment, education, voting rights, and public accomodations. In many ways "fair housing" was one of the hardest bills to enact because it struck at one of the cherished pillars of American way of life -- the right to own or rent and to do what one pleases with one's property. The law extended beyond public-sector housing, which had also been addressed in Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The Act was, in theory, the pinnacle of civil rights reform in this country because it offered equal access to a home, a mortgage, and neighborhoods that accompanied equal access to the voting booth, education, jobs, hotels, and other major arenas of life.
Guest Editor's Introduction (*.pdf)
Fair Housing -- The Battle Goes On
by Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Fair Housing Legislation: Not an Easy Row to Hoe
by Hon. Charles McC. Mathias, Jr. and Marion Morris
The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988: The First Decade
by Michael H. Schill and Samantha Friedman
Sustaining the Fair Housing Act
by John Yinger
Fair Housing Strategies for the Future: A Balanced Approach
by William R. Tisdale
The Fair Housing Act: A Latino Perspective
by Raul Yzaguirre, Laura Arce, and Charles Kamasaki
Mobility Patterns of Lower Income First-Time Homebuyers in Philadelphia
by Harriet Newburger
Bennett Harrison (1942-99)
This issue of Cityscape is dedicated to Bennet Harrison -- author, economist, teacher, colleague, and friend. Ben devoted his life and work to building knowledge on the roots of economic transition and social inequality in America's cities -- and to illuminating promising ways to respond to both. He was a founding member of the Cityscape Advisory Board and a contributing author.
We miss him and we are grateful for his many gifts.
Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Subscriptions are available at no charge and single copies at a nominal fee. The journal is also available on line at http://www. huduser.gov/periodicals/cityscape.html.
PD&R welcomes submissions to the Refereed Papers section of the journal. Our referee process is double blind and timely, and our referees are highly qualified. The managing editor will also respond to authors who submit outlines of proposed papers regarding the suitability of those proposals for inclusion in Cityscape. Send manuscripts or outlines to Cityscape@hud.gov.
Opinions expressed in the articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of HUD or the U.S. government.
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