Fair Housing’s unfinished business

September 14, 2015
In early September, public policy experts, housing advocates, civil rights leaders, academicians and others came together for three days to listen, learn and craft a way forward to advance housing rights and opportunities. Convened by HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, the conference held September 1-3 celebrated major milestones in the fight for fair housing, recalled noteworthy achievements and itemized all that still remains to be accomplished.
     As co-sponsor of the 1968 Fair Housing Act (FHA), Walter Mondale, former vice president and Minnesota Senator, termed the Act’s passage as “one of the great miracles in modern history.” His opening keynote address also spoke to contemporary challenges to dismantle residential segregation and governmental policies that deny equal housing.
     “The Fair Housing Act has unfinished business,” noted Mondale. “When high-income Black families cannot qualify for applied loans and are steered away from White suburbs, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.”
     “When the federal and state governments will pay to build new suburban highways, streets, sewers, school and parks but then allow these communities to exclude affordable housing, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled,” continued Mondale. “When we build most new subsidized housing in poor Black and Latino neighborhoods, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.”