On July 8th the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued new rules for reducing neighborhood segregation under the Fair Housing Act.
This long-awaited rule will help to undo the concentration of federally subsidized housing into poor, majority-minority neighborhoods with under-performing schools and high crime levels.
There are two main parts to the new rules. The first is a set of requirements that order localities to examine the state of fair housing within their borders. Localities will have to examine factors such as poverty levels, racial segregation, and school quality, as well as how these factors all intersect, and create a public report every three to five years. Then cities and towns will create fair housing goals, and plans to meet them.
The second part of the rule mandates that HUD will create a database for each locality that includes poverty level, racial makeup, concentration of housing vouchers and public housing projects, school quality, and public transit accessibility. This database will spotlight inequalities in neighborhoods so that they can be addressed by local governments.
These important new regulations will help fulfill the promise of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, by expanding the law’s implementation from only stopping discrimination to affirmatively promoting integration.