The Pieces of Housing Integration

33 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020

See all articles by Kristen Barnes

Kristen Barnes

Syracuse University College of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Date Written: July 11, 2020


Notwithstanding the enactment of the Fair Housing Act in 1968, accomplishing racially- integrated housing across the United States remains an unattained goal. The costs associated with this failure are innumerable. Black Americans have endured harms in many areas, including health, education, wealth, and employment. More broadly, the nation has incurred considerable socio-economic and political costs. In the interdisciplinary book, Moving Toward Integration, authors Richard Sander, Yana Kucheva, and Jonathan Zasloff analyze why the promise of racially-integrated housing remains unfulfilled and identify noteworthy strategies for changing course. Engaging with their arguments, this article highlights several structural impediments to altering racial housing patterns. Banks, cities, government agencies, and courts have been major contributors to the problem. Nonetheless, they have the power to ameliorate some of the lingering damage and to prevent future harms. Referencing several examples involving the Fair Housing Act, disparate impact theory, and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, this work elucidates how lending and government entities have sometimes operated to compromise desegregation and integration efforts rather than to facilitate them. Understanding the counterproductive moves of these influential actors is essential to assessing proposals for change.

Keywords: Housing, Fair Housing Act, Racial Integration, Segregation, Banks, Cities, Disparate Impact Theory, Community Development

JEL Classification: H, I13, Z

Suggested Citation

Barnes, Kristen, The Pieces of Housing Integration (July 11, 2020). 70 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 717, Issue 3, Available at SSRN:

Kristen Barnes (Contact Author)

Syracuse University College of Law ( email )

3154431798 (Phone)

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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