House votes for housing mobility funding: Thanks to all of you who contacted your Congressperson earlier this month! The House of Representatives just passed the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act of 2018 on Tuesday. The bill would authorize $30 million in competitive funding for up to 15 new or existing housing mobility programs (and an additional $20 million for a special fund of new vouchers for families with young children). The vote, 368-19, showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the initiative, which will help families with children access high opportunity communities with strong schools, low-crime and access to jobs. We plan on discussing the Demonstration at length during our 2018 Housing Mobility Conference – please join us! (Register here).
Devos and Sessions pull K-12 integration guidance: In another effort to “erase” the civil rights legacy of the Obama administration, the Departments of Education and Justice withdrew the 2011 “Guidance on the Voluntary Use of Race to Achieve Diversity and Avoid Racial Isolation in Elementary and Secondary Schools,” along with related guidance on affirmative action. In this case, however, the guidance was simply an accurate statement of the law, so the withdrawal is largely a symbolic act, albeit one that potentially undermines and confuses local integration efforts. PRRAC and other members of the National Coalition on School Diversity expressed their outrage in this press release last week – along with statements from former Secretaries of Education Arne Duncan and John King.
Call for environmental justice legislation: Recent threats to environmental protection will have an especially severe impact on people of color and low-income communities, who are disproportionately exposed to environmental health burdens – many of which have roots in intentionally discriminatory land use and housing policies, including residential segregation. PRRAC’s Law and Policy interns, Jennifer Bisgaier and Jennifer Pollan, have compiled a Research & Advocacy Guide that argues for an affirmative new vision of environmental justice protections, supported by an annotated bibliography of sources that describe the scope of environmental racism, its link to housing segregation, and the inadequacy of current protections to keep all of us healthy and safe, regardless of race or income. Read “The Call for Environmental Justice Legislation” here.
A new historical resource – the digitized “Green Book”: After we published our field report on efforts to deconstruct aging I-81 in Syracuse, we received this fascinating and sad piece by Mike Stanton of the Preservation Association of Central New York, who used the recently digitized “Negro Motorist Green Book” from the 1950s to examine what was lost: “Looking at the legacy of I-81 through the lens of the recently digitized Green Book.”
Additional Events and Resources
July 26 Hill briefing on school integration: DC folks – please join the NCSD for a Hill Briefing on “School Integration in 2018: Past Achievements, Present Threats, and Future Opportunities,” Thursday, July 26, 2018 from 1:30PM – 2:45PM.
The depth of white resistance: The Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery has published a new web based historical resource, “Segregation in America,” chronicling white resistance to the civil rights movement and the enduring legacy of segregation in America.
Ending local vetoes of affordable housing: The Shriver Center has published an in depth analysis of the “local veto” process over affordable housing development that has helped to keep Chicago segregated for decades – in “A City Fragmented: How Race, Power, and Aldermanic Prerogative Shape Chicago’s Neighborhoods.” Very similar to the effect of local approval provisions in some state Low Income Housing Tax Credit plans (which thanks to recent litigation and industry consensus are becoming increasingly rare).
Register now for the National Housing Mobility Conference, October 16-17 in Washington DC: Co-sponsored by PRRAC, Mobility Works, and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA). Register here.