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Expert talks 'lost history' of fair housing

Rachel Elaine. | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

A national fair housing expert discusses what she calls the "lost history" of discriminatory housing practices - and how a new rule underscores its importance today.

"We’ve forgotten that there were not only policies and practices in the private sector, but [also] … government policies and practices at the federal level, at the state level and at the local level that created rigid barriers between people based on race. That created segregation." 

Debby Goldberg is the vice president for housing policy and special projects with the National Fair Housing Alliance.

"And so it’s really our obligation today to work hard to break down those barriers. If we want to have a country that’s going to be prosperous. Where everybody has the opportunity to succeed."

Goldberg says good fair housing lifts up a community across the board. That applies to business, local governments – and families.

She says the less segregation and income inequality in a community, the more the alliance sees sustained economic growth.

And Goldberg says a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rule underscores today’s relevance by directly referencing a 1968 provision: that any agency using HUD money has an obligation to ensure that money goes toward furthering the goals of fair housing.

"And so we have a new tool, in the form of this regulation. To help communities look at the issues and how they play out locally. And to figure out what are the problems that have to be tackled first? And what are the strategies for doing that."

Goldberg was in Grand Rapids recently to discuss fair housing and opportunity at the 29th Annual Luncheon and Workshop Series, presented by the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
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