Giving Compass' Take: 

• Racial discrimination and access to housing have a long entangled history in the United States. Although subtler forms of housing discrimination are present today, HUD should work towards equitable and inclusive housing practices. 

• How can you start to lessen the barriers of discrimination by building inclusive communities in your own neighborhood?

• Other HUD initiatives have been critiqued for not being realistic in the pursuit of affordable housing for residents. 

Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968 to address two major problems plaguing the nation: housing discrimination and racial segregation. Fifty years later, those problems haven’t gone away. Research shows that housing discrimination still has profound impacts on people of color and other vulnerable groups, and segregation continues to harm all Americans.

The Huffington Post reported Tuesday that HUD has proposed changing its mission statement to drop the reference to its commitment to “build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination” and replace it with “opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency.”But evidence shows that helping people achieve self-sufficiency isn’t possible when discrimination prevents them from securing housing or when segregation limits people’s access to opportunities.

The most blatant forms of housing discrimination aren’t as prevalent as in previous decades, but subtler forms of discrimination continue to harm minorities by raising their housing search costs and restricting their options. In addition to ethnic and racial minorities, this discrimination affects many other groups, including people with disabilities, families with children, and LGBTQ communities.

Creating more inclusive regions and expanding access to opportunity can have positive results for all people, leading to higher black median household income, higher bachelor’s degree attainment for both black and white people, and lower homicide rates, according to Urban Institute research.

HUD’s current mission to build inclusive communities free from discrimination is as important now as when Congress passed the Fair Housing Act 50 years ago. As the agency considers revamping its mission statement, it should ensure that the existing evidence plays a key role in determining its priorities.

Read the full article about racial discrimination by Claudia Aranda at The Urban Institute.