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The Analysis of Attitudes Related to the Residential Desegregation of Public Housing in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Report Acceptance Date: 
September 1996 (264 pages)
Posted Date:   
September 1, 1996

This report fulfills part of the terms of a consent decree with plaintiffs in the lawsuit Sanders, et al., vs. HUD, et al. involving allegations of racial discrimination. The study assesses the attitudes, perceptions, preferences, and recommendations of two Allegheny County class members: black tenants and applicants for public housing and non-black tenants and applicants for public housing. The study facilitated 16 focus groups from January to March 1996 during which tapes and copious notes captured the details of the discussions, but the confidentiality of participants was protected. In their analysis, authors found that respondents were hardly aware of other public housing opportunities, that they preferred a mix of half black and half white, that a distinctive change in the social and physical environment occurred when the blacks exceeded 50 percent of the racial mix, and that tenuous racial relations make it difficult to maintain integration. The authors felt ample prospect for changing respondents' beliefs in situations where substantial gaps exist between perceptions and reality.