By Minjung Kim, PhD Student, Department of Public Administration and Policy, American University
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, The Future of Fair Housing Super Session was moderated by Katherine O’Regan from New York University. It discussed the current status of the Fair Housing Act, including distributive homeownership and the future of housing policy.
Raphael Bostic from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta discussed various topics related to the current challenges and the suggestions for the path that fair housing policy has to take. Bostic talked about how to use technology "reversely" to detect the new form of discrimination. Bostic also raised the issue of different housing decision-makers and argues that the communities need to fight for the decision on housing. From the government side, different voices need to be heard to make the fair housing more inclusive and effective. He also suggested gauging housing accessibility for nontraditional family households, in order to provide home ownership to people identified as marginalized or minorities. Bostic concluded by noting that innovation cannot be achieved instantly, but we need to make an effort for an incremental change.
Gustavo Velasquez of the Urban Institute talked about the theoretical benefits of gentrification, such as more integrated community; however, according to Velasquez, different actors need to play important roles to make it possible. Local governments should grant incentives to business partners for successfully implementing the fair housing act, so that the community builds more housings. In addition to local actors, data scientists and scholars should provide scientific evidence showing the policy is working.
Anna Maria Farias, Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, gave many personal examples from her very own hometown, San Antonio, TX, how business actors exacerbated the housing situation. Farias also provided what HUD is doing currently to promote the Fair Housing Act, balancing the discussion between academic perspective and the practical perspective.
Megan Haberle from Poverty and Race Research Action Council argued for the need to emphasize the role of community in the issue of gentrification and resegregation. Communities are also significant in terms of building regulatory housing system by restoring finances for a household. Current housing policy is led mainly by local and state level government, but the federal government should share power with the local and state government, in Megan's final estimation.