This week’s recipe of fair housing headlines includes generous portions of disparate impact with a dash of fair housing history, topped off with a bitter seasoning of how heavily poverty affects people’s access to housing. Feast your eyes, famished readers.
To help mark its 50th year of service, Fair Housing Contact Service in Akron, Ohio, have shared some documents from their history. While it’s definitely worth taking a look at (the above PSA is from their collection), it’s also a bit jarring to regard how, at once, so much has changed and yet so much more needs to change with regard to fair housing. [Fair Housing Contact Service]
A recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research revealed that, in every single state in the U.S., women are much more at risk for living in poverty than men. More troubling, 43.1% of single mothers are living below the poverty line – the most likely of any demographic. Given that women are already vulnerable to housing discrimination, this study paints a particularly grim landscape for single mothers. [Institute for Women’s Policy Research, MIC]
HUD released results from its ongoing study on the effectiveness of housing vouchers for homeless families, finding that such programs provide the most stability for families. Housing vouchers also reduced risk of future homelessness, childhood separation from parents, psychological distress, domestic violence, school instability and food insecurity. The study looked at four different types of housing assistance, but HUD concluded that their findings “offer striking evidence that offering homeless families a voucher yields measurably better outcomes at similar or even lower costs than the other interventions.” [Chicago Tribune]
On Tuesday, Representative Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, introduced a bill to the House that would eliminate protections against disparate impact from the Fair Housing Act. Perry’s introduction of the bill follows the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision last month that preserved this key component of the Fair Housing Act, which holds that discriminatory effects that are not directly intended by housing providers are still illegal practices. [Congress.gov, NPR]
Jamelle Bouie addresses the wave of backlash seen in several conservative media outlets against President Obama’s push to further fair housing practices. Bouie connects the recently rejuvenated push for more fair housing opportunities to “some of the toughest battles of the Civil Rights era,” but astutely warns about the potential pushback against integration. “Resistance will mount,” Bouie says, “against attempts to change the “character” of existing neighborhoods or against policies that threaten local control.” [LA Times]
Be sure to keep a lookout for more updates next Friday!