Two Major Victories for Fair Housing

(COMMON DREAMS) Alan Jenkins — It’s a rare moment when two branches of our federal government take major steps to expand opportunity for all Americans. But, with relatively little fanfare, that’s what’s happened over the last few weeks in the critical area of housing.

First, on June 25, the U.S. Supreme Court held that if a housing policy seriously disadvantages one gender, racial, religious or ethnic group, families with children, or people with disabilities, that policy is illegal unless there is an important justification for the policy. That principle, known as “disparate impact,” has been integral to the Fair Housing Act’s protections for over four decades, but this was the High Court’s first time considering it.

Just a week later, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued new regulations ensuring that when a city or town accepts federal funds for community development, it must work to prevent discrimination and foster diverse communities. Localities must proactively connect all neighborhoods to networks of opportunity linked to where people live – like quality schools, good parks and recreation, jobs, and hospitals that help us all to make better lives for our families. The regulations also provide guidance, information, and a participatory role for municipalities, community members, and fair housing groups around the country.

These two actions are giant steps forward in our national pursuit of greater and more equal opportunity for all. Access to a safe and affordable home near quality schools, transportation, and jobs is essential to the American Dream and to our nation’s future. Everyone should have the opportunity to find the best housing for their family, and every child should have an equal opportunity, regardless of his or her zip code.

Source: Two Major Victories for Fair Housing | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community