Upcoming Virtual Conference: Inequality of Wealth, Race, and Class; Equality of Opportunity, Univ. of St. Thomas J. L. & Pub. Pol’y Spring Symposium, Friday, March 27, 2020, 8am-5pm.
This symposium will be hosted entirely online. Visit https://stthomas.zoom.us/j/531167739 on March 27 to watch the following speaker panels.
Housing Panel: 9:30 -11 am
Tax Panel: 11am -12:30pm
Lunch Break: 12:30 – 1:30pm
Social Mobility: 1:30 – 3pm
Poverty: Urban and Rural: 3 – 4:30pm
New Article: Victoria J. Haneman, Contemplating Homeownership Tax Subsidies and Structural Racism, 54 Wake Forest L. Rev. 363 (2019). Abstract below:
An insidious form of racism is facilitated by those who are heedless of structural inequities — or in this instance, the fact that legal structures have been developed to protect the experiences of those who are white, with an underlying obliviousness to the fact that persons of color may have a different experience. Almost 80% of the United States’ four centuries of existence has involved racialized slavery and extreme racial segregation. The subject of structural discrimination should be almost noncontroversial by this point: established social and political structures have been built upon a foundation of racial inequality, inherently conferring power and privilege to some, while perpetuating the marginalization of others. A system that treats equally those who are positioned unequally will only serve to exacerbate the pre-existing inequalities.
Sweeping changes were made to two important homeownership tax subsidies when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on December 20, 2017, and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017. Within the framework of these tax expenditures, this Essay explores the notion that TCJA amendments have structurally racist implications both because of the persistently harmful way in which homeownership continues to be subsidized, and also because of the supply-side allocation of revenue generated by the amendments. This is less a polemic, more a thought piece, and perhaps more accurately an economic meditation, contemplating the way in which structural racism exists organically in institutions or structures that have historically incorporated racialized norms such that facially “neutral” changes to those structures are not in fact neutral. This idea is particularly relevant to housing law and policy — an area in which equal opportunity has either been blocked or simply neglected.
“Human Rights,” published by the ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice published an issue dedicated to Economic Justice, available here. The issue includes articles, by an impressive list of authors, on: “Taxing Poor Kids,” “Criminal Justice Debt Problems,” “ABA Bail Policy: Taking Steps to Achieve Reform,” “Roadmap to Economic Justice: Enhancing Protections for Auto Consumers,” “Your Money’s No Good Here: Combatting Source of
Income Discrimination in Housing,” “Fair Housing Under the Trump Administration,” “Solve Hunger with Anti-Poverty Policies, Not Anti-Hunger Policies,” “Economic Rights: Are They Justiciable, and Should They Be?,” and “Human Rights Heroes: Maria Foscarinis, Eric Tars, and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.” It can also be viewed as a PDF here.
-Thanks to Steve Wermiel for the heads up!
New Book: Eva Rosen, The Voucher Promise: “Section 8” and the Fate of an American Neighborhood (forthcoming 2020). Overview below:
Housing vouchers are a cornerstone of US federal housing policy, offering aid to more than two million households. Vouchers are meant to provide the poor with increased choice in the private rental marketplace, enabling access to safe neighborhoods with good schools and higher-paying jobs. But do they?
The Voucher Promise examines the Housing Choice Voucher Program, colloquially known as “Section 8,” and how it shapes the lives of families living in a Baltimore neighborhood called Park Heights. Eva Rosen tells stories about the daily lives of homeowners, voucher holders, renters who receive no housing assistance, and the landlords who provide housing. While vouchers are a powerful tool with great promise, she demonstrates how the housing policy can replicate the very inequalities it has the power to solve.
Rosen spent more than a year living in Park Heights, sitting on front stoops, getting to know families, accompanying them on housing searches, speaking to landlords, and learning about the neighborhood’s history. Voucher holders disproportionately end up in this area despite rampant unemployment, drugs, crime, and abandoned housing. Exploring why they are unable to relocate to other neighborhoods, Rosen illustrates the challenges in obtaining vouchers and the difficulties faced by recipients in using them when and where they want to. Yet, despite the program’s real shortcomings, she argues that vouchers offer basic stability for families and should remain integral to solutions for the nation’s housing crisis.
Delving into the connections between safe, affordable housing and social mobility, The Voucher Promise investigates the profound benefits and formidable obstacles involved in housing America’s poor.
New Report: Christina Stacy et al., Spatial Mismatch and Federally Supported Rental Housing (Urban Inst., 2020). News coverage here.
-Thanks to Susan Bennett for the heads up!
Op-ed: Lawrence Lanahan, The Legacy of a Landmark Case for Housing Mobility, Citylab, Jan. 31, 2020.