Promises Still to Keep: The Fair Housing Act Fifty Years Later

29 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2018 Last revised: 12 Feb 2019

See all articles by Paula A. Franzese

Paula A. Franzese

Seton Hall University - School of Law

Stephanie Beach

Seton Hall University, School of Law, Students

Date Written: 2019


In the five decades since its ratification, the optimism of the Fair Housing Act’s drafters has yielded to the frustrations of lax enforcement, administrative neglect, federal budget cutbacks, the rise of exclusionary economic zoning measures, gentrification and dwindling stocks of affordable and habitable housing for those of low-income. While the Act has facilitated a decline in race-based housing segregation for middle-income blacks, racial segregation by residence for those of low-income remains high and class-based segregation has been rising. Because people of color are disproportionately low-income, economic segregation achieves many of the same outcomes as explicit race-based exclusion. This Article considers how the Act’s aims have been impeded by drastic declines in the quantity and quality of available subsidized housing, the practice of tenant blacklisting and exclusionary economic zoning. This as the need for affordable housing rises, with one in three Americans struggling to get by. Reclaiming the Act’s promise depends on the coalescing of diverse and varied alliances around the unifying premise that decent housing is a human right. We can and must arrive at a collective will to assure that no one is denied a safe place to call home and all are afforded the opportunity to reap the benefits of inclusion.

Keywords: property, poverty, housing, affordable housing, social justice

JEL Classification: R38, R21, R30, I38, I30, I31, I32, I18, I24, I28

Suggested Citation

Franzese, Paula A. and Beach, Stephanie, Promises Still to Keep: The Fair Housing Act Fifty Years Later (2019). Cardozo Law Review, Vol. 40, 2019; Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN:

Paula A. Franzese (Contact Author)

Seton Hall University - School of Law ( email )

One Newark Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5210
United States
973-642-8817 (Phone)

Stephanie Beach

Seton Hall University, School of Law, Students ( email )

United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics