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The Dream Revisited
Discussion 17: Community Preferences and Fair Housing

Discussion 17: Community Preferences and Fair Housing

November 2015

The seventeenth discussion debates the extent to which preferences in neighborhood residents in accessing new affordable housing promote or betray the goal of truly inclusionary communities. 


  • An Inclusionary Tool Created by Low-Income Communities for Low-Income Communities

    by Rafael Cestero

    When New York City helps finance the construction or renovation of affordable housing, it requires that in half of the affordable units the property developer give a preference to income-eligible residents of the community district where the property is built.  Fair housing advocates recently filed a lawsuit against the City, arguing that this community preference policy perpetuates segregation.  Although I share the commitment to furthering fair housing, I believe the lawsuit is misguided.


  • Community Preferences Discriminate

    by Errrol Louis

    What purpose does the Community preferences policy serve? For Mr. Cestero it is about maintaining the “fabric” of a neighborhood when more affordable housing is built there. This is the same sort of “there goes the neighborhood” logic that brought about white flight and has foiled integration for decades. If integration is to happen, neighborhood “fabrics” simply cannot be preserved whole cloth.

  • The Community Preference Policy: An Unnecessary Barrier to Minorities’ Housing Rights

    by Robert G. Schwemm

    The Fair Housing Act is legitimately concerned with local-resident preferences, particularly those whose justifications are old or not well considered. Unless proponents of such policies show a greater willingness than New York has yet done to confront the real difficulties posed by these policies, they must expect that their efforts to discriminate in favor of local residents over outsiders will be seen as the kind of “artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barrier” to minorities’ housing rights that the FHA rightly condemns.

  • Local Preferences Require Local Analysis

    by Sam Tepperman-Gelfant

    When it comes to local preferences, local context makes all the difference.  While prioritizing a percentage of affordable homes in a neighborhood for local residents could advance fair housing and community stabilization goals in gentrifying neighborhoods, a similar policy would perpetuate segregation and inequality in areas that are already wealthy and predominantly white. Our fair housing laws are flexible enough to embrace this reality and permit local preferences in some places while prohibiting them in others.

Discussion 16: A New Approach to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

November 2015

The sixteenth discussion reacts to HUD’s renewed commitment to the new requirement of the Fair Housing Act to “affirmatively further fair housing.”

Discussion 15: Moving Up or Moving Out

July 2015

The fifteenth discussion explores the most effective ways to address concentrated poverty, focusing on policies that target both people and place.

Discussion 14: Housing Subsidies & Inclusive Communities

June 2015

The fourteenth discussion examines the policy issues underlying Texas vs. The Inclusive Communities Project: how government officials should balance the use of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocations to create affordable homes in low-poverty neighborhoods with the use of LIHTC allocations to catalyze economic development in high-poverty neighborhoods.

Discussion 13: The Future of the Fair Housing Act

April 2015

The thirteenth discussion debates the significant of disparate impact liability under the Fair Housing Act, in light of the Supreme Court's deliberation in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project.

Discussion 12: The Poor Door Debate

March 2015

The twelfth discussion weighs the controversy about "poor doors" in the context of a debate over the costs and benefits of mixed-income housing in high-cost markets.

Discussion 11: Explaining Ferguson Through Place and Race

January 2015

The eleventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how metropolitan development patterns shaped by race and class set the stage for the events in Ferguson, MO.

Discussion 10: Balancing Investments in People & Place

November 2014

The tenth discussion in the Dream Revisited debates the appropriate balance between investments to help low-income households move to neighborhoods that offer greater access to opportunity and investments to improve the quality of life in low-income neighborhoods.

Discussion 9: Residential Income Segregation

November 2014

The ninth discussion in The Dream Revisited analyzes segregation by income and debates the significance of the increasing isolation of the affluent.

Discussion 8: Neighborhoods, Opportunities, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program

October 2014

The eighth discussion in The Dream Revisited explores how the federal Housing Choice Voucher program can most effectively improve social, educational, and economic opportunities for voucher recipients. 

Discussion 7: Comparative Perspectives on Segregation

September 2014

The seventh discussion in The Dream Revisited explores what can be learned by looking at racial and economic segregation through a comparative lens. 

Discussion 6: Implicit Bias and Segregation

August 2014

The sixth discussion explores how implicit bias contributes to residential segregation and whether or not awareness of implicit biases can heighten a sense of moral urgency.

Discussion 5: Place-Based Affirmative Action

July 2014

The fifth discussion explores proposals to re-imagine affirmative action by focusing on neighborhood disadvantage instead of race.

Discussion 4: Neighborhood Gentrification

May 2014

The fourth discussion explores the relationship between gentrification, neighborhood integration, and public participation.

Discussion 2: Economic Segregation in Schools

March 2014

The second discussion on The Dream Revisited explores economic segregation in our schools and argues for its continued relevance today. 

Discussion 1: Why Integration?

January 2014

The frst discussion in The Dream Revisited asks what we mean by "integration" and why it may be a necessary strategy to acheive racial and economic equality.