SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory - Winter Storm Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

America made a promise in 1968. It's time to keep it

On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act this week, the landmark law's promises to dismantle housing segregati...

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 6:02 AM
Updated: Apr 11, 2018 6:02 AM

On the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act this week, the landmark law's promises to dismantle housing segregation remain unfulfilled and, worse, are under attack by the Trump administration, which has showcased repeatedly its hostility toward opening up housing opportunities for persons of color.

Amid all this, according to a new report, home ownership among African-Americans is as low now as it was when racial discrimination was legal. Meanwhile, the wealth gap between black and white Americans has more than tripled since the passage of the Fair Housing Act.

Now is the time to block the federal government's efforts to dilute the Fair Housing Act and instead invest in an independent, nonpartisan agency to oversee its enforcement. Now is the time to enact federal and local policies that eliminate the concentration of government-funded affordable housing for families in racially isolated neighborhoods. And now is the time to elect government leaders who are willing to take the bold and brave actions needed to finally fulfill the Fair Housing Act's mandate to foster inclusive communities.

A recent investigation uncovered how Trump administration officials with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development have been proactively rolling back federal efforts to enforce the Fair Housing Act, including freezing a series of high profile fair housing enforcement cases.

Ben Carson, HUD's secretary, recently confirmed with lawmakers HUD's delay of a rule requiring local governments that receive HUD funds to create plans that would help desegregate neighborhoods - and many fair housing advocates fear that rule is now on the chopping block. Carson has previously called the rule "social engineering."

Under Carson's watch, HUD has also sought to roll back a policy focused on opening opportunities for low-income renters with federal housing vouchers - who are people of color - to live in safer neighborhoods with better access to strong schools and jobs. A federal court blocked that move.

And then last month, word came out that HUD was striking the promise of inclusive, discrimination-free communities from its mission statement.

It's not just HUD that is undermining fair housing and inclusive communities. The Trump administration recently stripped the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity of its powers to inspect and enforce lending discrimination cases. As a result, that office is no longer able to pursue actions against banks that discriminate against minority applicants for home loans.

When the Fair Housing Act was first put before Congress, racial segregation was deeply entrenched in our nation's neighborhoods, fostered by decades of discriminatory government policies and private actions. Heading into 1968, the bill's prospects for passage appeared bleak, as expanding opportunities for black families to live next door to white families generated fierce opposition both inside and outside the Capitol. Then, Martin Luther King Jr., a leader in the fight for fair housing, was assassinated, propelling passage of the act.

A week after King's assassination on April 4, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law. In addition to barring discriminatory actions in the housing market, the law requires the federal government - and local governments receiving funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development - to take affirmative steps to promote residential integration.

Today, the law's pledge to foster inclusive communities remains unfinished. In cities across our country - from Los Angeles to Houston to Atlanta to New York - the race of a child still influences where that child will grow up and what opportunities that child will have access to.

The impact that residential segregation has on educational opportunities for schoolchildren is especially profound, given the close nexus between school attendance boundaries and neighborhood boundaries. More than 8 million children, the vast majority of whom are black and Hispanic, attend racially isolated, high-poverty schools, where they usually face inferior academic offerings and worse educational outcomes - and that number has been growing.

In the country's largest metropolitan areas, affordable apartments subsidized by the federal government's $8 billion-a-year tax credit program are being built largely in high-poverty, minority neighborhoods. When developers across the country seek to build affordable apartments in more integrated, higher opportunity neighborhoods, they are often stymied by exclusionary zoning ordinances or local officials who bend to racially motivated opposition from neighbors.

Fair housing is also under assault by state legislatures. In North Carolina, the state Senate passed a bill to repeal the state's fair housing act and eliminate the state's civil rights enforcement agency. In Texas, the Legislature has barred cities from adopting ordinances to open housing opportunities for low-income renters with government housing assistance. And in Missouri, a new state law rolls back protections for persons confronting housing discrimination.

These attacks on fair housing threaten to move our country backward in the struggle for racial equality when we should be strengthening our efforts to expand access to inclusive housing opportunities.

Two years before his assassination, at a march in Chicago to protest housing discrimination, King proclaimed, "Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children." Yes, now is still the time.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 137600

Reported Deaths: 1877
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah29040464
Washington19216179
Marion16668247
Clackamas11989141
Lane8724113
Jackson712295
Umatilla697673
Deschutes517140
Yamhill329448
Malheur319855
Linn319449
Polk256340
Klamath252446
Josephine182636
Benton181714
Douglas175944
Jefferson173425
Union114617
Wasco111723
Columbia107518
Lincoln102717
Coos98315
Hood River97621
Morrow96310
Clatsop7075
Crook65213
Baker5825
Tillamook3692
Curry3245
Lake2485
Grant2171
Harney1806
Wallowa993
Gilliam531
Sherman470
Wheeler201
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3147735

Reported Deaths: 36846
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles106550515184
San Bernardino2628581594
Riverside2585322777
San Diego2255582344
Orange2214932625
Santa Clara964351181
Kern89095590
Fresno847441043
Sacramento828611157
Alameda69693886
Ventura64404507
San Joaquin59395808
Contra Costa54416487
Stanislaus43938788
Tulare42759531
Monterey37285259
San Mateo33731340
San Francisco30027278
Santa Barbara26514264
Solano26494111
Imperial25562493
Merced25048324
Sonoma24761247
Kings19760160
Placer17675188
San Luis Obispo16437151
Madera13781151
Santa Cruz12687130
Marin11930163
Yolo11014138
Shasta9920129
Butte9711134
El Dorado800259
Sutter792783
Napa782847
Lassen526916
San Benito514348
Yuba504929
Tehama446846
Tuolumne344340
Nevada329674
Mendocino325635
Amador304232
Lake268132
Humboldt249425
Glenn198522
Colusa18549
Calaveras167223
Siskiyou148413
Mono11354
Inyo100729
Del Norte8732
Plumas6055
Modoc3873
Mariposa3464
Trinity3054
Sierra880
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Medford
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 37°
Brookings
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 36°
Medford
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 21° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 37°
Medford
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 37°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 25°
Coastal rain, inland spotty snow showers tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events