The Promise of the Fair Housing Act and the Role of Fair Housing Organizations

Jorge Andres Soto and Deidre Swesnik
Publication Date: 
January 26, 2012

ACS is pleased to distribute “The Promise of the Fair Housing Act and the Role of Fair Housing Organizations,” an Issue Brief by Deidre Swesnik, Director of Policy and Communications at the National Fair Housing Alliance and Jorge Andres Soto, Public Policy Associate at the National Fair Housing Alliance. In this Issue Brief, the authors explain how private non-profit organizations play a critical role in combatting the millions of incidents of housing discrimination that occur each year throughout the United States. Education, investigation, and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, which was enacted in the aftermath of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, are handled largely by such organizations.

The authors survey current cases that highlight persistent housing segregation and discrimination, identifying practices that led to contemporary housing crises, like unprecedented foreclosures and post-Katrina housing shortages. They argue that “[d]iscrimination stands in the way of establishing fair housing choice for all people” and that “[w]here we live and our access to fair housing choice directly affect our educational and health outcomes and life opportunities.” “Today, we have the opportunity to address housing discrimination and segregation as part of the overall economic recovery,” Swesnik and Soto write, concluding with several policy recommendations that would modernize the Fair Housing Act and enhance federal enforcement.