Supreme Court decision will help promote housing justice and desegregation

23 Jul

Last year I took part in the “Action Tank” on housing policy, sponsored by the Christian Community Development Association, which Jill helped to organize. This year’s Action Tank will focus on fair housing, dealing with housing discrimination, specifically a new supreme court ruling that is strengthening the  Fair Housing Act with a provision called “disparate impact.” This provision of this new ruling allows the government to file a discrimination claim when segregation is clearly evident, even if the government can’t prove intent. That’s why the recent Supreme Court ruling described in Jamelle Bouelle’s Op Ed piece is so important: it can be used to justify requiring all white suburbs to allow, or even require, affordable housing for low income people.

Racially and ethnically segregated housing is still a big issue in the USA, even if it isn’t no longer abetted by laws such as racial covenants and red lining, Last month Jill was asked to give a presentation on affordable housing in Broomfield, CO, because it was designated one of the “10 most racially segregated cities in the US.” Religious leaders there were embarrassed and decided that focusing on affordable housing could help their community become more diverse. That’s why Jill was invited to provide a practical and biblical perspective on housing justice..The following article explains how this Supreme Court decision will make it easier to desegregate predominantly white neighborhoods.

America’s fair housing backlash 

by Jamelle Bouie (LA Times, July 22, 2015)

.If you’ve read conservative blogs or magazines in the last month, you’ve probably seen something like this headline from Townhall — “HUD’s ‘Disparate Impact’ War on Suburban America” — or this one from National Review — “Attention America’s Suburbs: You Have Just Been Annexed.”

Behind this dramatic language, not to say fear-mongering, are recent decisions from the Supreme Court and the Department of Housing and Urban Development that take aim at residential segregation.

In June, a 5-4 Supreme Court majority upheld a central tool of the 1968 Fair Housing Act — disparate impact — which allows the government to file claims to end racial disparities in housing access, even if they aren’t linked to outright discrimination. See America’s Fair Housing Backlash

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