Do you “affirmatively further” Fair Housing?

Do you “affirmatively further” Fair Housing?

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Do you “affirmatively further” Fair Housing?

If you’re the least bit like me, your first reaction might be “What the heck does affirmatively further mean?”. Well, it means a lot- and I don’t quite know whether that’s a lot of good.

My seemingly never-ending search for SEO gold led me to a site called Quora early this week- and one of the questions currently being posed to folks by Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica is a similar one: “What should communities be doing to “affirmatively further” fair housing?” This question prompted me to read Hannah-Jones’ story behind this question (http://www.propublica.org/article/living-apart-how-the-government-betrayed-a-landmark-civil-rights-law/), and had me bouncing over to read columns and briefs regarding Fair Housing in general and more specifically the government’s Housing Finance Reform and similar plans that address Fair Housing as it relates to rental housing.

Silly me- thinking for a while that I had a clue what Fair Housing was all about. Things written by folks like the Poverty & Race Research Action Council (http://www.prrac.org/) and others have been very enlightening. Some things are flat-out scary, though.

My crazy self has been guided by the simplicity and honesty of this policy: If you treat everyone equally and deal with everyone fairly, all is well. I’ve never needed a manual or other book to explain “fair” to me- I learned that in kindergarten.

Current definitions of “fair” seem geared far too little towards guaranteeing everyone has equal access to housing, though- and instead geared toward granting minorities entitlements and special privileges that in and of themselves foster a divide amongst us.

Using the government’s goals as a guide, one must decide whether they’re doing enough to “promote residential integration”. Those in the secondary mortgage market must also use “standards that consciously create incentives for locating affordable housing in ‘high opportunity’ neighborhoods outside racially divided, high poverty areas”- with explicit goals of forcing minorities into majority-white neighborhoods at any cost.

With the government’s idea of “fair” getting murkier and murkier as days go by, I think I’ll stick with what I learned in kindergarten after all.

Do you “affirmatively further” Fair Housing?

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About Dennis Burgess

Dennis B. Burgess Realtor in Orlando, FL ORRA Vice-chairman of Strategic Planning/Secretary ORRA/FR Boards of Directors Empire Network Realty 6000 S. Rio Grande Ave., #104 Orlando, FL 32803 Cell: 205-445-4755 Office: 407-440-3798 bamaburgess@hotmail.com Twitter: @orlrentals Turning vacant into occupied, and "houses" into "homes"
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