Furthering Fair Housing: Prospects for Racial Justice in America’s Neighborhoods, by Justin P. Steil, Nicholas F. Kelly, Lawrence J. Vale, and Maia S. Woluchem (eds), Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 2021.
Reviewed by: Gregory D. Squires, George Washington University
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) passed in 1968 has long had a dual mandate – ameliorating discrimination and creating integrated neighborhoods. Far more attention has been paid to the former than the latter. But the FHA did call for HUD to implement the act in a manner that would affirmatively further fair housing encapsulating both mandates. This requirement was virtually ignored for decades. Finally in 2015 HUD promulgated an affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) rule that offered some promise for more effective compliance with the FHA’s second mandate.
But the Trump Administration replaced this rule with the Preserving Community and Housing Choice act in July 2020 which focused on deregulation and housing affordability, saying nothing about segregation. In January 2021 Biden issued an executive order calling for the HUD Secretary to “take any necessary steps, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to implement the Fair Housing Act’s requirements that HUD administer its programs in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing.”
AFFH has been a real roller coaster. This book tells the AFFH story in hopes that the coaster is once again riding upward.
It is difficult to envision stable, sustainable, and more equitable metropolitan areas in the US if current levels of segregation persist. At the same time, place-based investments are essential to achieve the opportunity enhancing objectives of AFFH. In the Conclusion Justin P. Steil and Nicholas F. Kelly observe “Addressing the wide racial disparities in wealth, health, and other outcomes in the United States will require dramatic changes to housing and land use policies.” (233) Achieving these objectives will require dramatic changes in other areas of the nation’s political economy as well. But this book tells the AFFH story well and provides guidance for future efforts to create the communities called for by the Fair Housing Act.
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.