This course examines the U.S. legal framework enacted for the purpose of ending discrimination and segregation in housing. A vast research literature documents the ways in which neighborhoods powerfully shape residents’ access to social, political, and economic opportunities and resources. Despite the promise of the Fair Housing Act, the rate of housing discrimination and “steering” remain high, even though some of the most blatant practices have abated. The most recent national study, HUD’s 2000 Housing Discrimination Study, reported very high levels of discrimination and steering against Black, Latino, Asian and Native American home seekers based on the experience of paired testers (investigators posing as renters or homebuyers) in major metropolitan housing markets. The nation’s foreclosure crisis was brought about as much by the mortgage lending discrimination as by exotic loan types. Indeed, a significant contributing factor to the rise of discriminatory subprime and predatory lending practices is the halt to vigorous fair lending enforcement by the Department of Justice since 2000. Because of this lack of enforcement at the federal level, the responsibility to combat discriminatory practices at the root of the foreclosure crisis has fallen to private attorneys, states, and municipal governments. These have few resources to combat the abusive housing practices, yet private attorneys have been initiating innovative litigation strategies, and municipalities –including Baltimore City – have brought innovative fair housing cases against lenders alleging that the severe damage to their neighborhoods from foreclosures is a result of lenders’ discriminatory reverse redlining practices.
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|This course is not currently scheduled.|