Advancing Fair Housing Critical in Addressing Disparity

Diane Yentel, President and CEO of National Low Income Housing Coalition

Congress Should Protect Fair Housing Advances Made Under Obama Administration

On February 6, 2017, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Diane Yentel wrote “Point of View: Advancing Fair Housing.”

Yentel highlights attempts by Congress to roll back advances made in Fair Housing.

Once Congress got back to work in January, Yentel reports that “Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) reintroduced legislation they sought to advance in previous Congresses. The “Local Zoning Decisions Protection Act of 2017” would nullify HUD’s regulation and resources to help communities meet their legal obligations to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH).”

Their efforts to thwart fair housing policy over the years have been unsuccessful.

Writes Yentel, “Now is not the time to roll back advancements towards making housing fair for all. Communities from Ferguson to Flint to Milwaukee highlight the decades of federal, state and local housing policies that created and sustain communities of deep poverty, geographically cut off from opportunity – as well as some of the consequences of inaction.”

Providing access to fair housing and neighborhood choice can have far reaching, beneficial consequences for children and their families.

“Research continues to build proving just how harmful it can be for people – especially children – to grow up in neighborhoods of deep poverty. Raj Chetty’s groundbreaking research confirmed that where you live – the city, the neighborhood, the block, even the street – has a profound impact on the opportunities you get in life. In fact, of all the determinants that affect our ability to climb the economic ladder, few are more important than the homes and communities in which we are raised.”

For some of us, it is hard to imagine living in neighborhoods without access to quality schools, safe playgrounds, libraries and grocery stores.

But, “Every year a child spends living in a high-poverty neighborhood can cement lifelong detrimental impacts – impacting everything from educational attainment to earnings to life expectancy.”

Children who don’t have equal access to education, and further down the road, job opportunities, might face greater risk of homelessness as young adults and adults.

“Until recently, communities had very little guidance on how to further fair housing and lacked the tools to meet their obligations. The Obama administration took the historic step of providing communities with definitions, data, tools, and guidance to enable and empower them to better meet their fair housing obligations to address the significant disparities in access to opportunity.” Let’s hope that Congress doesn’t roll back these critical advances.

Point of View: Advancing Fair Housing

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