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Opening Doors: How to Cut Discrimination by Supporting Neighborhood Integration

The last few years have witnessed a quantum leap in the enforcement of fair housing and fair lending legislation. The 1988 Fair Housing Amendments Act gave newe enforcement powers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Justice. For example, HUD can how initiate complaints against housing agents who discriminate. Moreover, several events, including release of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, which show wide disparities in loan acceptance rates between whites on the one hand and blacks and Hispanics on the other, have led financial regulatory agencies such as the Federal Reserve Board and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to increase their anti-discrimination enforcement. These commendable enforcement efforts may fall short of the mark, however, because they are likely to have little impact on one of th eprincipal sources of discrimination by real estate brokers and landlords, namely residential segregation. This policy brief argues that: (1) residential segregation, the physical separation of racial or ethnic groups, is a principal cause of continuing discrimination in housing; (2) enforcement efforts directed toward people who commit discriminatory acts are unlikely to have much effect on segregation; and (3) the federal government needs programs to attack segregation directly, that is, to support integration, as part of its anti-discriminational arsenal. The brief concludes by proposing the Stable Neighborhood Initiatives Program (SNIP), a nondiscriminatory federal program to support community integration efforts, which is designed to fill the current policy void.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs with number 3.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Feb 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:003
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  1. Munnell, Alicia H. & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell & Lynn E. Browne & James McEneaney, 1996. "Mortgage Lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 25-53, March.
  2. W. Clark, 1991. "Residential preferences and neighborhood racial segregation: A test of the schelling segregation model," Demography, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 1-19, February.
  3. George Galster, 1990. "Racial steering in urban housing markets: A review of the audit evidence," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 105-129, December.
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