* Staff Writer, Boston College Third World Law Journal (2000–2001).
1 See Nancy A. Denton, Half-Empty or Half-Full: Segregation and Segregated Neighborhoods 30 Years after the Fair Housing Act, 4 Cityscape 108 (1999). Segregation is often measured using the Index of Dissimilarity. See id. The Index shows that segregation in large metropolitan areas has declined only eight points in the North and nine points in the South during the last twenty years. See id.; see also Stephen Grant Meyer, As Long as They Don’t Move Next Door 217 (2000); Joe R. Feagin, Excluding Blacks and Others from Housing: The Foundation of White Racism, 4 Cityscape 79, 80 (1999).
2 See Feagin, supra note 1, at 82.
3 See Philip D. Tegeler, Housing Segregation and Local Discretion, 3 J.L. & Pol’y 209, 210 (1994).
4 See, e.g., Meyer, supra note 1, at 214; James H. Carr, The Complexity of Segregation: Why it Continues 30 Years after the Enactment of the Fair Housing Act, 4 Cityscape 139, 140–43 (1999); Tegeler, supra note 3, at 212–15.
5 See generally Meyer, supra note 1. Meyer discusses the extent of segregation throughout the country and analyzes its causes, decade by decade. See generally id.
6 See id. at 10.
7 See id. at 217–18. Minorities are still less likely than whites to obtain mortgage funding, and if they do, are less likely to receive favorable terms, such as lower interest rates. See id.; see also Feagin, supra note 1, at 82–83.
8 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 221.
9 See id. at 222.
10 See id. at 218. For example, Meyer cites a 1996 poll that shows that nearly forty percent of white Americans support laws permitting property owners to discriminate on the basis of race when selling or renting their homes. See id. He also surveys the nation’s newspapers to emphasize the abundant acts of intimidation, including cross burnings and vandalism, that African Americans still endure when trying to move into white neighborhoods. See id. at 219–21.
11 See id. at 10.
12 See Brian Maney & Sheila Crowley, Ph.D., Scarcity and Success: Perspectives on Assisted Housing, 9 J. Affordable Housing and Community Dev. L. 319, 321 (2000).
13 See id. at 325. They were initially part of the original tenant-based assistance programs that the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 implemented. See id. Although the program formerly distributed both housing certificates and vouchers, each with different rental payment formulas, on October 1, 1999 the programs merged into one voucher-based program. See id. at 326. Currently, section 8 housing consists of project-based assistance or assistance to specific individuals or families through tenant-based assistance in the form of certificates or vouchers. See id. However, after October 1, 1999, Public Housing Authorities can only enter into contracts under the voucher program, and not under the certificate program. See id.
14 See id. at 327. Under the new voucher system, the payment standard is anywhere between 80% and 110% of the Fair Market Rate (FMR) set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). See id. at 327. Under the old system, recipients could either rent an apartment for more than the FMR and pay more than thirty percent of their income, or find an apartment for less than the FMR and keep the savings. See Paula Beck, Fighting Section 8 Discrimination: The Fair Housing Act’s New Frontier, 31 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 155, 157 (1996).
15 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 322.
16 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 218. Meyer writes about how some municipal governments still discriminate against African-American homeowners. See id. at 218. For example, some municipal governments still impose specific zoning restrictions, thereby excluding low-income housing in certain areas. See id. The distribution of section 8 vouchers by local PHA’s presents another way that municipal governments discriminate; according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), “[R]esearchers have found that HUD’s allocation procedures . . . may preclude equal access to funds by racial and ethnic minorities.” Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 337. In particular . . . there is a tendency to limit access to vouchers to African Americans and other racial/ethnic minorities who disproportionately live in central locations.” Id.
17 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 326.
18 See Philip D. Tegeler et al., Transforming Section 8: Using Federal Housing Subsidies to Promote Individual Housing Choice and Desegregation, 30 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 451, 456 (1995).
19 See Beck, supra note 14, at 156; Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 343.
20 See Carr, supra note 4, at 143.
21 See Hills v. Gatreaux, 425 U.S. 284 (1976).
22 See Beck, supra note 14, at 158 n.20.
23 See Michael A. Fletcher, A Neighborhood Slams the Door, Wash. Post, May 18, 1996, at A1.
24 See id.
25 See id.
26 See, e.g., Stephanie A. Crockett, Portsmouth Helps Tenants Find Homes but Few Landlords Accept Families in Aid Program, Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, July 7, 2000, at B1.
27 See Beck, supra note 14, at 158; Carr, supra note 4, at 140; see also Tim Grant, Subsidized in the Suburbs, St. Petersburg Times, June 4, 1999, at 1; Megan Towey, Chicago Hope, Nat’l J., Apr. 22, 2000, at 1278.
28 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 321.
29 See The Housing Crunch, The Progressive, May 1, 2000, at 8. President Clinton has proposed spending $690,000 this year for 120,000 new housing vouchers. See Building One America, U.S. Newswire, Sept. 16, 2000.
30 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 321; The Housing Crunch, supra note 29.
31 See The Housing Crunch, supra note 29.
32 See Kevin Diaz, Once-Heralded Deal to Demolish Projects Now Faces Criticism, Star-Trib. Newspaper of the Twin Cities Mpls.-St. Paul, Aug. 15, 1999, at 1A.
33 See id.
34 See id.
35 See The Housing Crunch, supra note 29. The affordable housing crisis is not unique to Minneapolis. According to HUD, the number of affordable rental units dropped by 372,000, or five percent, from 1991 to 1997. See id.
36 See Curtis Lawrence, Public Housing’s Future: The People Next Door?, Chi. Sun-Times, Nov. 15, 1999, at 20.
37 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 335.
38 See id.
39 See id. at 325.
40 See id. at 334.
41 See Beck, supra note 14, at 158; Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 339; Mark A. Malaspina, Note, Demanding the Best: How to Restructure the Section 8 Household-Based Rental Assistance Program, 14 Yale L. & Pol’y Rev. 287, 307 (1996).
42 See Alex M. Johnson, Jr. How Race and Poverty Intersect to Prevent Integration: Destabilizing Race as a Vehicle to Integrate Neighborhoods, 143 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1595, 1620 (1995).
43 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 335. Beck writes, “Landlords blatantly discriminate against Section 8. They told me plain and simple they don’t take Section 8; that’s their policy.” Beck, supra note 14, at 161.
44 See Beck, supra note 14, at 161.
45 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 334. These individuals often base this class-discrimination on the fear and perception that poor people will bring with them a variety of social ills, such as high-crime rates, that will adversely affect their property values. See id.; see also Beck, supra note 14, at 161. “You want to go somewhere nice. But landlords know you are from the projects and they think you’re bad.” Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 339 (quoting Brian Rogel, CHA Residents Moving to Segregated Areas, Chi. Rep., July-Aug. 1998).
46 See Gregory C. Baumann, Federal Court Plays Town Hall, Daily Record (Baltimore), May 31, 1996, at 1.
47 See id.
48 See id.
49 See id. A revised settlement subsequently put strict limits on where families with vouchers can relocate. See id. Off-limits are areas in which more than ten percent of the residents live below the poverty line, along with complexes that already rent twenty percent of their units to section 8 tenants and census tracts in which the minority population exceeds 25.9%. See id. Furthermore, as part of the settlement terms, counselors will be provided to help families adjust to the change from city life to suburban life. See id.
50 Beck, supra note 14, at 159; Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 348; Baumann, supra note 46.
51See Baumann, supra note 46.
52See, e.g., Meyer, supra note 1, at 221.
53 See Feagin, supra note 1, at 85–86. “Because of their residential separation, many Whites assume that the life experiences and consciousness of people of color are dramatically different from and inferior to their own . . . all-Black enclaves are seen by some Whites as dark and seductive places where Whites can go to find drugs or prostitution.” Id.
54 See id. at 85; Malaspina, supra note 41, at 291–92.
55 See Feagin, supra note 1, at 83. Feagin writes:
[The] suburban migration of Whites has been stimulated by the investment decisions of industrial corporations, banks, and developers and has been assisted by Federal Government subsidies for home mortgages and road building. In this uneven development process, capital flows to housing in the suburbs and away from housing development in the central cities. Moreover, the decentralized suburbs provide growing numbers of jobs for their mostly White population. These job and residential redistributions contribute to the racial polarization of metropolitan areas.
Id. at 83.
56 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1615.
57 See George C. Galster, The Evolving Challenges of Fair Housing Since 1968: Open Housing, Integration, and the Reduction of Ghettoization, 4 Cityscape 123, 130 (1999). Galster discusses his concept of statistical discrimination, which he defines as differential treatment based on the discriminator’s belief that race is highly correlated with one or more valued attributes. See id. He writes:
[A] landlord may refuse to rent to any Black because he thinks that there is a higher probability that a Black tenant may use the apartment to sell drugs. . . . The statistical discriminator does not disfavor minorities because of animus, but rather because experience, media reports, or other evidence, “proves” that, on average, minorities are less likely to possess certain desirable traits.
Id.
58 See Beck, supra note 14, at 159. “Middle class communities often shun Section 8, fearing it will hurt their property values and bring criminals into their neighborhoods.” Grant, supra note 27, at 1.
59 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 2.
60 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 291–92.
61 See Beck, supra note 14, at 155.
62 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 8.
63 See id. at 11; Johnson, supra note 42, at 1624.
64 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1602, 1624.
65 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 11; Johnson, supra note 42, at 1602.
66 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1639.
67 See id. at 1640.
68 See Carr, supra note 4, at 143.
69 See id; Johnson, supra note 42, at 1640.
70 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1640.
71 See id. at 1639.
72 See id. at 1602.
73 See id. at 1638–39.
74 See, e.g., id. at 1641–42.
75 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1642.
76 See id.
77 See id. at 1620; see also Feagin, supra note 1, at 85.
78 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1642. (Johnson does not mention section 8 voucher holders specifically in his discussion; however, his discussion applies to them.)
79 See Fletcher, supra note 23, at A1.
80 See Beck, supra note 14, at 160. In 1949, Congress amended the Housing Act of 1937 to prohibit discrimination based on the receipt of public assistance against prospective public housing tenants. See id. This amendment was later superseded. See id. at 160–61. Discrimination based on income source is not included in the federal Fair Housing Act. See id. at 160.
81 See Jim Harger, Ordinance Now Covers Rent Subsidies, Grand Rapids Press, July 6, 2000, at 1. For instance, in July 2000, the Grand Rapids City Commission changed the city’s Fair Housing Ordinance to outlaw discrimination based on “lawful sources of income.” Id. The amendment came about after a task force discovered that some landlords were turning prospective tenants away solely because they received section 8 subsidies. Id. The Commission also recommended the amendment with the belief that landlords may use Section 8 as a pretext for refusing to rent to racial minorities. Id.
82 See Beck, supra note 14, at 168.
83 See Tegeler et al., supra note 18, at 455–57; Malaspina, supra note 41, at 289.
84 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 306.
85 See Beck, supra note 14, at 155.
86 See id. at 159.
87 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 311.
88 See id. at 312–13; Florence Wagman Roisman, Long Overdue: Desegregation Litigation and Next Steps to End Discrimination and Segregation in the Public Housing and Section 8 Existing Housing Programs, 4 Cityscape 171, 175 (1999).
89 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 324. For example, section 8 currently requires an apartment inspection and other forms of administration approval before an owner and tenant may sign a lease. See id.
90 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 303.
91 See Grant, supra note 27. In a June, 1999 article in the St. Petersburg Times, a housing expert is quoted as saying, “If [low income renters] all go to the same area or same community, they create another mini-ghetto. The point is to avoid that.” Id. (quoting Peter Dreier).
92 See Carr, supra note 4, at 141; see also Beck, supra note 14, at 159.
93 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 348.
94 See Beck, supra note 14, at 171. For example, Paula Beck recommends adding an amendment that prohibits discrimination based on “status with regard to rental assistance.” Id.; see also Malaspina, supra note 41, at 315.
95 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 320. Local political pressure and the tendency of local governments to act in response to the discriminatory attitudes of their constituents, has often frustrated the potential of section 8 to integrate communities. See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 320; Tegeler, supra note 3, at 215; Malaspina, supra note 41, at 315.
96 See Beck, supra note 14, at 185.
97 See id. at 169. For example, landlords may assert that they cannot make the repairs necessary to bring a unit into compliance with HUD’s standards. See id.
98 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 316. For example, they may require extensive credit checks, references, or cosigner requirements, that section 8 holders might tend to fail more than non-holders applying for the same housing unit. See id.
99 See Carr, supra note 4, at 140–41; Denton, supra note 1, at 113; Galster, supra note 57, at 132.
100 See Roisman, supra note 88, at 173.
101 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 342; Roisman, supra note 88, at 173.
102 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 222.
103 See Carr, supra note 4, at 140.
104 See Scott Baldauf, When Zoning Becomes Segregation Tool Dallas Court Ruling that Suburb’s Laws are “Discriminatory” May Reverberate Across US, Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 11, 2000,  U.S.A., at 2. For example, Baldauf wrote, “[Sunnyvale, Texas] town leaders, according to a court complaint, admitted their motives [in regard to zoning laws that did not allow low-income housing] were based on race.” Id.
105 See Beck, supra note 14, at 165.
106 See Galster, supra note 57, at 124; see also Tegeler et al., supra note 18, at 486.
107 See Tegeler et al., supra note 18, at 461.
108 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1610–12.
109 See id. at 1614; see also Tegeler, supra note 3, at 209.
110 See Carr, supra note 4, at 144; Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 349.
111 See Johnson, supra note 42, at 1624.
112 See id. Of course, it would also decrease African Americans’ need for section 8 vouchers in the first instance, thus making it easier for those who need vouchers to obtain and use them.
113 See Carr, supra note 4, at 143.
114 See Feagin, supra note 1, at 86. Additionally, if African Americans could live in higher quality homes, even if these homes were in revitalized inner-city neighborhoods, they would be able to build up housing equity, which would enable them to relocate to areas of their choosing, rather than to areas that resources and discrimination dictate. See id.
115 See Carr, supra note 4, at 144.
116 See Denton, supra note 1, at 118. Interestingly, Carr cites a 1992 survey in which only fifteen percent of Whites polled said they would move out of their neighborhood if it became twenty percent black, but over fifty percent said that they would not move into a neighborhood that was twenty percent black. See Carr, supra note 4, at 141.
117 See Beck, supra note 14 at 159; Tegeler et al., supra note 18, at 481; Malaspina, supra note 41, at 303.
118 See Malaspina, supra note 41, at 320.
119 See Crockett, supra note 26. For example, as part of a settlement agreement in a class-action suit, the Portsmouth (Virginia) Redevelopment and Housing Authority (PRHA) implemented many of these initiatives. See id. PRHA employees have taken residents on tours of the city to familiarize them with the various neighborhoods, as well as providing residents with small group and individual counseling to educate residents about housing options, including housing available in neighboring towns. See id. Additionally, PRHA will try to increase the number of affordable housing units available through a landlord outreach program, that would educate landlords about the benefits of participating in the section 8 voucher program. See id. Finally, PRHA is providing self-sufficiency classes for tenants who move into section 8 housing, including topics such as landlord-tenant relationships, in order to ease the transition and to make section 8 tenants independent and successful members of their new community. See id.; see also Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 321. The NLIHC found that only sixteen percent of PHAs currently conduct outreach to owners to engage them in the section 8 program. See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 343.
120 See Maney & Crowley, supra note 12, at 321.
121 Meyer, supra note 1, at 222.
122 See Denton, supra note 1, at 113.
123 See Meyer, supra note 1, at 222.
124 See id.; Galster, supra note 57, at 130.