Goodbye to Chester (and East Bay party): Congratulations to Chester Hartman on his upcoming retirement after more than 25 years at PRRAC. Chester took over as PRRAC’s first Executive Director in 1990, and then shifted to his current position as PRRAC’s Research Director in 2004. Chester’s work at PRRAC has capped an illustrious social justice career that included teaching positions in city and urban planning at Harvard, Cornell, Columbia, and George Washington University, important stints at the National Housing Law Project and the Institute for Policy Studies, and publications too numerous to recount. Chester was also the founder of the Planners’ Network, a national collective of progressive city and regional planners and academics committed to community-based advocacy planning and connecting planning practice to civil and human rights movements (see item below). For friends of PRRAC and fans of Chester in the San Francisco Bay Area, save the date of Thursday, February 18, for a celebration hosted by PRRAC’s Board at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. If you would like to join us for the party, please email Tyler Barbarin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new housing mobility program in New Jersey: We are excited to report that the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, which operates a large statewide Housing Choice Voucher program, has committed to a new housing mobility program as part of its 2016 Consolidated Plan. The new program, which starts with 100 vouchers in the first year, emerged as part of a requirement for the State to update its Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice that came out of the resolution of the contested Hurricane Sandy recovery plan, which the state worked on with HUD and the Fair Share Housing Center, the Latino Action Network, and the NAACP New Jersey State Conference. The new program states that “DCA will expand upon its current efforts to improve access to housing opportunities outside areas of concentrated poverty by establishing an intensive counseling component to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to more strongly encourage and make it easier for its voucher holders to locate affordable housing in communities that better reflect the racial and economic diversity of the State….[and to] help them find rental units in the areas of higher opportunity that best meet the needs of the family, including nearby schools, public transportation, employment opportunities, healthcare facilities and other community amenities. In addition, DCA will consider modifying HCV policies to allow longer search times, higher subsidy levels in more advantageous neighborhoods, a targeted outreach to attract landlords interested in participating in the Housing Choice Voucher Program for the first time.” The New Jersey program joins fifteen other housing mobility programs around the country, listed in our July 2015 guide. For more information on the plan and timetable in NJ, contact David Rammler at email@example.com.
Other news and resources
“Diverse Housing, Diverse Schooling”: This new policy brief from Amy Stuart Wells (published by the National Education Policy Center) provides a great overview of academic research on the housing-education nexus, and breaks important ground in connecting implicit bias research to perceptions of school “quality” and home value based on school racial composition. Wells offers a research-based prescription for stabilizing school enrollment in increasingly diverse city and suburban neighborhoods, in part by harnessing changing attitudes on race and diversity. Without intentional policy interventions, Wells argues, the benefits of diversity in changing suburbs and gentrifying city neighborhoods could be lost to resegregation. (See also our related policy brief from this past March).
In the new Cityscape: “Symposium: Housing Discrimination Today” with in depth analysis of fair housing testing trends and issues in measurement of housing discrimination.
Planners Network takes stand on diversity recruitment goals for planning school faculty and students. Read the eloquent resolution of the Planners’ Network Executive Committee here.