Race and Policy: 50 Years after the Fair Housing Act
Penn IUR Brief APRIL 2019
25 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019
Date Written: April 18, 2019
On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act it is imperative to take a critical look at segregation and discrimination in the United States, and the opportunities and challenges associated with making progress on this pressing issue. In that spirit, we released a call for papers focusing on fair housing, which all went through peer-review and were recently published in Cityscape. While these papers add to our knowledge, they also highlight the need for continued debate about policies and programs around fair housing. As a result, we asked some of our nation’s leading scholars to opine on the Cityscape articles, and to offer their thoughts on this topic. This edited volume by Vincent Reina and Susan Wachter is a compilation of response papers to the Cityscape special issue, and serves as a way to continue the debate about how best to pursue the goals of equity, inclusion, and eliminating discrimination.
This report begins with commentaries by both Elizabeth K. Julian and Justin Steil, who provide important reactions to the mandate to affirmatively further fair housing, which is well documented in the paper by Katherine O’Regan and Ken Zimmerman. Next, Kevin Chavers highlights the importance of and challenges associated with fair housing and homeownership, and Gary Painter offers insight into drivers of the racial disparities in homeownership rates, which are discussed in detail in a paper by Arthur Acolin, Desen Lin, and Susan Wachter. Olatunde Johnson then offers thoughts on deconcentrating areas of affluence, while Amy T. Khare and Mark L. Joseph take a critical look at the mindset and framework associated with this approach set forth by Edward G. Goetz, Anthony Damiano, and Rashad A. Williams. Finally, both Casey Dawkins and Lisa Alexander offer insight into how fair housing goals, and the Act itself, engage with existing federal housing policy programs and larger issues of neighborhood change, which serves as an important complement to the paper by Vincent Reina, Jake Wegman, and Erick Guerra. A copy of the Cityscape issue with the original papers can be found online.
It is our hope that the responses in this report will garner further debate, and that collectively we can continue to make the case for the importance of fair housing and develop nuanced and impactful policies that ensure the Fair Housing Act meets its full intent.
Keywords: Fair Housing Act, Housing Access, Housing Segregation, Housing Discrimination
JEL Classification: R21, R31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation