Perspectives on Fair Housing, by Vincent J. Reina, Wendell E. Pritchett,and Susan M. Wachter (eds) Philadelphia, PA, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2021.
Reviewed by: Gregory D. Squires, George Washington University
Several collections of essays on fair housing and particularly the 1968 federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) have been published in recent years commemorating more than fifty years of fair housing activity. This is a welcome addition to that collection. The FHA was the most contentious of the major federal civil rights laws enacted in the 1960s and controversies persist to this day. This book takes on some of the most heated debates, offering outlines, if not blueprints, of where we should go.
The introductory chapter by the editors makes three basic uncontroversial arguments: 1) segregation is not the result of benign preferences of minorities; 2) discrimination results in unequal outcomes for minority households; and 3) government intervention is essential to address fair housing challenges. The chapters which follow, written by leading scholars, examine the following specific issues: 1) the history of unfair housing leading up to passage of the FHA, 2) the longstanding and continuing costs of segregation, 3) connections between housing and school desegregation, 4) economic implications of fair housing, 5) the FHA’s dual mandate of eradicating discrimination and creating integrated communities, and 6) fair housing challenges for those marginalized due to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Perspectives on Fair Housing is not intended to be a comprehensive examination of all the causes, consequences, and potential policy responses to fair housing issues. But it identifies key issues and illuminates the histories and potential remedies. This book is particularly timely given the shifting political realities of today. It is indeed a welcome addition.
The full book review will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs.
The reviewer may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.