Friday, January 28, 2005

When one studies the situation of housing segregation and attempts to promote open, inclusive, and diverse communities, one tends to find some issues that are hard to deal with when it comes to strategies of integration.

One such dilemma is that when polled about the types of integrated communities that people want to live in, African Americans often say they prefer a neighborhood that is 50% white and 50% black. (These surveys are too often disregard that there are other races and ethnicities to consider so we have to stick with the black/white dichotomy here.) Whites feel that 50/50 is something to flee. They prefer a much smaller amount -- approximately 10% Black.

In reality, the population of the United States is breaks down as follows:

White: 211 million (75%)
Black: 35 million (12%)

(Btw, the US is also 4% Asian, 2% Multiracial, 6% Other. Of the total population, approximately 13% are Latino across al races but mostly white.)

Obviously we have a mathematical conundrum. If African Americans all lived in 50/50 neighborhoods then that would mean 83% of whites would live in exclusive neighborhoods. Even if all Latinos were white and the other races lived in 50/50 situations 52% of non-Latino whites would live in exclusive communities) lived I don't think that's such a good situation. But, if it takes a 50/50 neighborhood for African Americans to feel comfortable living in an integrated community what is an integrationist to do? It seems unfair to ask an extremely disenfranchised group to accept less than the ideal requested.

My current thinking: If the 50/50 model were to become reality (we're not even close to that yet), there is no guarantee that those neighborhoods will offer the same opportunities as the 100/0 neighborhoods. So, maybe the 50/50 model is just a first step. But, the ultimate goal should be 75/12. Then there are no exclusive communities for whites.

Monday, January 17, 2005

The Tribune has picked up the story on suburban fair housing ordinances -- complete with quotes from your humble host.

UPDATE: Here's the Daily Herald's article as well.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The Bush Administration is planning on cutting the HUD budget drastically. You can read the story in the Washington Post.

This is an extremely serious attack on the poor and minorities in our country. While it's not perfect, HUD is one of the few federal departments with "people oriented" policies and procedures. The movement of some of its programs to the Commerce Department is, on that front, appalling.

Some HUD programs are to be cut entirely. One such program is the rural housing program. Others are going to be moved or cut in dramatic fashion. To no surprise, these changes will likely benefit the housing, lending, and insurance industries to the detriment of the actual people who need help with housing.

When taken with the Community Reinvestment Act dilutions and the previous proposed changes in HUD's support for public housing and Housing Choice Vouchers, this is beginning to look like very dark news.

I will post on some advocacy actions as soon as they are available.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

FYI: The Leadership Council just released a report on how most suburban Chicago municipalities fail in their fair housing obligations co-authored by yours truly. You can read a summary and download a .pdf copy here if the spirit moves you.

Part of the reason we released this report now is that it is MLK Day Monday. Dr. King came to Chicago in 1965-66 and lived here for a year while working with local leaders to promote an open housing environment in Chicago and the region. By the time he left a lot of organizations were in place to deal with the racial tensions of Chicago. One was the Leadership Council. In 1968, in the wake of Dr. King's assassination, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act. 37 years later there is still a lot of work ahead of us.