Here at LFHC, we’re often dealing with the immediate impacts of housing discrimination: threat of homelessness, intimidation and harassment, recovery of lost capital, etc. While we help people overcome these first-hand effects of housing discrimination, one of the long game of goals of our fair housing world is to create equal access to educational opportunities for all families. When where you live determines the quality of the schools your children can attend, low income parents are literally priced away from being able to live in school districts that offer more education resources to their children. To start off this week’s FH5, a couple of articles tackle that issue, looking at how important fair housing is to establishing and maintaining a legacy of benefits for families. As usual, other fair housing goings-on in the country are included in the post, so check those out as well!
The title of this editorial from the New York Times says it all: “How Segregation Destroys Black Wealth.” Segregation has terrible consequences in the present – whenever that happens to be – but the harm does not simply end there. Instead, as is concluded here, the damage caused by fair housing violations like discriminatory lending practices and steering “reaches across generations and continues today.” [NYT]
In a more in-depth analysis of how segregation destroys education opportunities for low income children, Conor P. Williams, writing for The 74, explains how it’s not just the mortgage lenders who are at fault for segregation. As has been pointed out in previous essays featured in the FH5, Williams notes how supposedly liberal residents are very reluctant to accept affordable housing developments in their otherwise upscale communities. As a result, this “allows the wealthy to purchase, by means of their mortgages, access to public schools that are exclusively the province of the upper class.” [The 74]
A fair housing victory looms in Denver as the city will decide how best to preserve the city’s affordable housing offerings. In addition to establishing “the right of first refusal to match any offer to buy a property,” the changes made to the ordinance would require landlords to notify the city a year in advance if they plan to either change a property to market-rate or sell it. Melinda Pollack, who is vice president of an affordable housing agency in Denver, lauded the city’s plan, calling it “a proactive way to address a growing crisis that affects everyone, regardless of income.”[Denver Post, x2]
In less encouraging fair housing news, developers in California are hoping the Supreme Court will hear their opposition to the state’s rule that requires them to provide a percentage of the units they develop to low-income families. The group, the California Building Association, had their argument rejected by the California Supreme Court, and it remains to be seen if SCOTUS will agree to hear the argument next term. [CityLab]
While fair housing remains the focus of our action, it’s also necessary to juxtapose that mission within the greater context of our culture. For sure, one could not conceivably eliminate all fair housing challenges and expect a perfect society to be the result. It’s far more complex than just one issue. A new essay at inequality.org explores that very aspect, pointing out how fair housing fits into the greater cause for social justice alongside broader concepts like racial color-blindness and transformative justice. [inequality.org]
(Photo credit: “wana commons,” by Clover Autrey. Licensed under CC BY 4.0 via Creative Commons)