What will fair housing rulings mean for metro Atlanta neighborhoods?
By George Burgan, Director of Communications, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, Inc.
On June 25, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the matter of Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (ICP) – a case claiming that Texas had contributed to “segregated housing patterns by allocating too many tax credits to housing in predominantly black inner-city areas and too few in predominantly white suburban neighborhoods.” The Court sided with ICP, allowing statistical data to prove that Texas practices and decisions had discriminatory effects – without proving they were the result of discriminatory intentions.
Soon after the Supreme Court ruling, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) released a final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – a requirement to promote and create more diverse and inclusive communities that has been in the Fair Housing Act since 1968, but essentially never enforced.
According to the final rule, “affirmatively furthering fair housing” means taking meaningful actions that address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity; replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns; transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity; and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.
The greater metro Atlanta region exhibits every indication that it, too, has a fair housing issue. The region ranks the lowest in the nation in income mobility. One in four metro households has a severe housing cost burden. There is wide disparity in housing recovery from neighborhood to neighborhood. In addition, there are many troubling exclusionary zoning policies in our region.
HUD’s new rule will most assuredly impact the use of funds in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), public housing authority programs, HOME funding and more. How will our region’s housing leaders and state officials address this rule and how will it impact ongoing housing concerns?
Join us for the next quarterly Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on September 2 as we discuss these matters. The Forum will be held at 9:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 435 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30308.
The Forum is free to attend, but registration is required. Register Here.