Good Law | Bad Law #106 - Is Segregation Still the Way we Live? w/ Vicki Been

Aaron Freiwald: [00:00:00.09] Welcome back to good law bad law. My guest today is Vicky being she's a professor of law at the New York University Law School and the faculty director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. And we're talking about the Fair Housing Act. Important achievement legislatively in the 1960s capping a decade of civil rights achievements. This in the area of housing aid a law that Lyndon Johnson rushed to pass. Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and it's been 50 years and although there's been some progress when it comes to fair housing there still is a lot of work to be done. And Vicky walks us through both the goals of this important legislation and some of the complex issues that cities and communities still face when it comes to segregation of neighborhoods and desegregating the way we live in our cities and towns. So this is an important and very interesting topic. I hope you'll enjoy this episode. Stay tuned.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:01:23.46] Welcome back to good law. Bad law. On this episode we're going to talk about fair housing. It is 50 years since the Fair Housing Act was passed signed by Lyndon Johnson just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King and to help us work through where we are 50 years later with fair housing in this country and with the goals that the Fair Housing Act was intended to fulfill. I'm joined by Vickie being who is a professor of law at the New York University School of Law and the faculty director of the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy there. So first of all Vicki Thank you so much for being on the program.

 

Vicky Been: [00:02:08.16] Thank you for having me.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:02:10.47] This is this is a fascinating and hugely important topic that I confess I knew very little about and know very little about going into this. So I'm really looking forward for myself as well to understand this better. An important piece of civil rights legislation from the civil rights era of the 1960s and a promise that as I understand from some of your writings remains largely unfulfilled and in particular comment you made to the Department of Housing and Urban Development which is looking at some aspects of the Fair Housing Act in which you said integration has remained elusive. In the five decades since the passing of the Fair Housing Act. So that's where I want us to get to is to really understand that and the importance of that. But first Vickie if if you would give us some background on yourself you know personally how you came to the law in this area and some background on the Furman Center as well great.

 

Vicky Been: [00:03:20.86] Well again thank you for having me and thank you for your interest in this topic which is a critically important topic that we don't talk enough about. But I came to this issue I. I have taught at NYU Law School now for longer than than I want to date myself. So let's put it that it's been a long time and have been one of the faculty directors at the Furman Center for about 15 years. I had the pleasure and the privilege of taking a leave of absence to serve as commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development for the city of New York for three years. In between 2014 and 2017 so had to grapple with these issues up close and personal both as a theoretical matter in my research and as a you know day to day implementation matter. Serving as commissioner. But you can't really think about housing in New York City or in anyplace in the United States nor can you really think about land use patterns without grappling with fair housing and what our obligations are and and what the goals are that we're trying to achieve and how to get there. So it's been a long term research interest of the Furman Center. It's been a long term research interests of of my own and and my colleagues at the Furman Center. The Furman Center is joint center so it's interdisciplinary we take lawyers and put them together with planners and urban economists and try to get the best of both of those worlds really. So we're a very evidence based research organization that tries to figure out well what's really happening on the ground and then what are the appropriate policy and legal responses based on what we know what the hard evidence shows about what's working and not working on the ground. So we have a team of about 13 full time people and then we really leverage off of the incredible talent at NYU Law School and NYU agri school and indeed around all of New York University. So we draw on students from sociology economics social work in addition to law and urban planning and try to put together a really solid interdisciplinary team to study some of these problems.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:06:00.43] Well this is again to confess my own ignorance and I agree it is so incredibly important but I think when people think about the major landmarks of civil rights legislation they think of nondiscrimination in public accommodations they think of voting rights the Voting Rights Act. But I don't know that enough people certainly or most people think about housing and so it was passed in 1968. Here we are 50 years later so I think this is a great opportunity to give us a little bit of a history lesson here in the background on this important legislation so we can understand how much progress there's been or how much lack of progress there's been and where we can go forward where we should be going forward from here so I'm going to task you with that started Vicky. The Fair Housing Act. Give us give us a little background on that where it came from and what its major goals were at the time it was passed.

 

Vicky Been: [00:07:11.65] So it really came from. I mean during the civil rights era you had the riots in Washington D.C. the riots in Newark and other places really highlighting the horrendous living conditions and neighborhood disparities between white neighborhoods and a predominantly black and Latino neighborhood and those riots led to the appointment of what was called the Kerner Commission which is the famous commission that said something has to be done or we're headed to two societies one black and one white. And there had been proposals to address housing discrimination in Congress for many years that had been stalled. They were a priority of Dr. Martin Luther King they were a priority of the civil rights movement but they were getting nowhere in Congress blocked primarily by Southern Democrats at that time and it was really the assassination unfortunately of Dr. Martin Luther King that led President Johnson to say we've got to do something and we need to do something fast and we need to do something that shows that we care about the inequities of the neighborhoods in which people of color live versus those in which whites live. So the Fair Housing Act was passed very quickly after Martin Luther King's death and it was in many ways it it mirrored the kind of legislation that had been passed that you referred to that the rules against discrimination in employment the rules against discrimination in the expenditure of federal funds and those kinds of things. So it prohibits explicit discrimination. So if I you know go to rent an apartment and I'm told or I believe that I'm not being rented an apartment that's available because of the color of my skin because I have children because of my gender because of my ethnicity or race. Then I have a course of action under under the Fair Housing Act. But what's remarkable about the Fair Housing Act is that it not only said you housing participants in the housing market cannot discriminate against people of color. And some other protected classes. But it went further than that in that it acknowledged the role that the federal government in addition to state and local governments had played in segregating neighborhoods. Right.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:10:01.96] And that is the fascinating thing and I think I think we need to spend another minute or so on the nondiscrimination piece because I think it would be easy to imagine that type of situation we're talking about is limited to one landlord discriminating against one potential renter of an apartment let's say. And that certainly did go on. I mean I remember from my history reading that you know there were signs you know colored need not apply or you know Jews need not apply for a particular apartment let's say in an apartment building. But that kind of overt really out in the wide open kind of discrimination was one thing. But there was also evidence of systemic discrimination going on lines being drawn around certain neighborhoods or certain communities to prevent integration to prevent mixing of particularly mixing of blacks and whites in neighborhoods by mortgage companies by big landowners by developers and so on. Right that that was a huge problem that had to be addressed head on by this legislation.

 

Vicky Been: [00:11:28.25] Well and it wasn't only the mortgage brokers or the developers but it was the the governments themselves.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:11:35.9] How so.

 

Vicky Been: [00:11:38.39] So there was a long history. Really. It used to be back before the Great Migration to the north of many African-Americans. That that whites and blacks lived not not in equal neighborhoods but interspersed in neighborhoods and in part of that was the in the north part of that had to do with you know your your housekeeper et cetera lived nearby in order to get to work nearby. So there was a mixing of blacks and whites although it wasn't equal and it certainly was divided by income and many other things. But after the Great Migration to the north where you saw this influx of African-Americans whites began to be very nervous about that very showed antipathy. And so the first line of really explicit and very outright discrimination was that city's zoning laws zoned parts of town to be for whites and parts of town to be for blacks. And in some cases parts of town to be for Latinos or Asians. And it was illegal for you as a black person to buy a house for example in a white neighborhood. It was illegal for Whites to buy in black neighborhoods. And that was very explicit. There was a team of of zoning experts whose job it was to go around the country and write zone explicitly racial zoning ordinance. The Supreme Court struck those down. And what then happened in in response to the Supreme Court striking them down is that you cities and people turned to private agreements to achieve the same thing. So when they built when a developer built a new subdivision in a suburb for example they would put in to the documents for that subdivision what's called a covenant which is essentially a contract that binds future owners of the land as well that they would not sell to a black person or a wide range of folks.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:14:09.37] To maintain the racial or ethnic makeup of that development.

 

Vicky Been: [00:14:15.92] Exactly. Exactly. And then the Supreme Court held that it was illegal for courts to enforce those explicitly racist covenants. So in yet another response to that zoning and credit practices etc. adopted less overt but no less powerful ways of discriminating against people of color. So you instead of saying well only whites can live here you would zone for you know one acre or two acre zoning so that you would automatically keep out people with less money. Right. And because of the correlation between class and race that was a pretty effective way of segregating neighborhoods. The federal government then you know got in on the act as well by redlining as you referred to. So the Homeowners Loan Corporation which was the federal agency that basically had to insure the mortgages drew explicit worked with local experts in every jurisdiction to draw explicit red lines around neighborhoods that were considered to be quote unquote more risky. But what that meant more risky to lend to. But what that actually meant was that it was communities of color communities that were poorer and those neighborhoods were a red line was drawn around them. And the federal government said we will not guarantee any mortgages that you a private lender make in those neighborhoods because we consider it too risky. But what that did is cut off all credit for you know neighborhoods in which many of the people were people of color. So all of those were extremely effective decreasingly overt but no less effective ways of keeping people of color in one kind of neighborhood. And white people in another kind of neighborhood. And the more you know one avenue got shut down or got challenged in court and shut down there would be other ways that cropped up to accomplish the same kinds of things.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:17:03.37] So and we're talking we're talking so far about housing and access to housing and the ways in which that impacts the composition of neighborhoods and ultimately we're going to be getting to issues about right segregation versus desegregating and integrating neighborhoods. But I know that this is more than just about housing it's more than just about the roof over your head. The address where you live right. You know I think can speak to this from from your perspective of working with all of these other professionals from different backgrounds and with your work at the Furman Center that this is the impact of these housing decisions and how how neighborhoods are zoned and how people are kept out of or locked into certain neighborhoods has brought it broader implications than just where they live. I can. Can you talk about that just a little bit. What some of the impacts are on individuals and families because of this.

 

Vicky Been: [00:18:15.34] Absolutely so. I mean where you live the zip code in which you live determines lots of things about your life chances it determines the quality of schools that you go to it determines the amount of crime that you face in your neighborhood it determines the kinds of resources that are devoted to that neighborhood in terms of parks and and other essential amenities that it determines the kind of job opportunities that you have. So where you are living determines much more than what kind of house you have it determines all of the ways in which your future is going to be shaped not necessarily determined. Lots of people even in the poorest neighborhoods achieve amazing success. But it limits it shapes that constrains and blocks people's opportunity. And I mean for I can just give you a couple of examples. But you know growing up in a highly racially concentrated you know a neighborhood where the proportion of let's say Latinos or blacks is much higher than the proportion for the city as a whole. And you have so you have a disproportionate makeup of one race and you also have you tend to have with that concentrated poverty as well growing up in that kind of neighborhood has as great of an effect on how you how a child does in school as missing an entire year of school. So that's it. You know huge effect on the life because obviously how you do in school determines many many other things about your life. Seeing we've done work at the Furman Center my colleague Ingrid Allen along with Pat Sharkey a sociologist here at NYU and Amy Ellen Schwartz an education specialist have done work on how exposure to violence affects the school or the performance of kids in school and finds that you know if you are witnessing murders other horrendous crimes you of course you don't do as well in school right your mind is elsewhere. So there are just in every way your health your education your exposure to crime your exposure to networks that can help you get jobs. All of those things are are tied to where you live the neighborhood and where you live. And so it's not just about do you have a quality house. It's about all of the chances that you're going to have in life.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:21:10.35] Well and so. So coming back to the Fair Housing Act then I mean it seems from 2018 perspective certainly obvious that it that this law should prohibit the kinds of explicit and systemic acts of discrimination in housing. We've given some examples of that whether it's the government zoning or the mortgage companies lending or the land developers including racially oriented covenants and so on. But but there is more to the Fair Housing Act story than simply ending overt discrimination and that's the part that I want to turn to because I think this is a little harder to see and understand which is a law that has a goal not only ending discrimination but but fostering integration and desegregation. So help me understand how it's set out to do that. And what type of success we've seen in that regard.

 

Vicky Been: [00:22:33.93] So that's what's remarkable about the Fair Housing Act is that it doesn't just ban discrimination by private actors or by government actors but it it recognizes that explicit rightly recognizes that because of the long history of racial segregation in housing and because of the long history of government's involvement in that that it wasn't enough to just say from hints from here forward we're not gonna have any discrimination. You were still left with a society that was completely divided.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:23:08.84] It reminds me of the school desegregation example too that you can't just declare one day we won't discriminate in public education but meanwhile you still have all these all black schools and all these old white schools and if you don't actually do something about that the problems is going to continue.

 

Vicky Been: [00:23:30.65] Exactly. So the the Fair Housing Act included a provision that required HUD the Department of Housing the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to make sure that it and any state and local governments who got money from it which is most must do what's called affirmatively further fair housing. So not just end discrimination but affirmatively work towards fair housing. And for you know basically decades that was left shall we say unattended to. In the very early days after the Fair Housing Act was passed. Mitt Romney's father's secretary who was then secretary of Housing and Urban Development proposed to put real teeth in that and proposed that if jurisdictions if if local jurisdictions were not affirmatively moving to integrate their communities in the way as you describe we tried to integrate schools that they would lose federal money for highways sewers etcetera all the things that the federal government helps local governments fund. And that was met with a huge outcry from local governments and it was basically shelved. And then.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:25:00.56] What does that look like. Because I know we have to go back to George Romney Mitt Romney's father in the 70s and the 80s and the 90s afterwards in terms of school desegregation and I think most of us understand that that means busing that you have to you have to find ways to bring black schoolchildren to white schools and white school to black schools. You can do that with a bus. How do you put teeth into this affirmatively further idea when you're talking about where people live where they rent and own houses and live in neighborhoods.

 

Vicky Been: [00:25:41.02] So one way is that people where people live and how they own houses is terribly constrained by land use regulations. So for example if a land use regulation says as many did that in areas where you have single family homes no apartments are allowed then that's going to continue to segregate by income. And because of the correlation between income and race and ethnicity it will also have the effect of keeping people of color out of those single family neighborhoods. So the first thing that it means is you've got to look carefully at your state and local regulations and make sure that they are not inadvertently or on purpose continuing to segregate even new housing. Right.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:26:43.44] And then you get into but then you get into all the NIMBY arguments and I know that's something else that you've looked at very closely when it comes to land use and the pattern of these issues that we're looking at NIMBY Not In My Backyard. I mean you can imagine a neighborhood of homeowners who say I'm not I'm not opposed at all to having a black family or many black families or Latino families in my neighborhood. But I don't want an apartment building on my block or because that's going to affect the value of my home and that so that I'm just I'm not saying that some of those people might not also actually have racially motivated views about things. But it becomes harder to separate that out doesn't it and becomes much more complicated.

 

Vicky Been: [00:27:38.34] It is much more complicated because there are any you know I believe in land use regulation. I I teach it I believe in it but it can it's very hard to separate out whether a land use regulation is intended to protect the environment to protect people's housing values. All of those things. Or if it is actually intended to you know effectuate discrimination or if it isn't intended to do that but it has such a strong effect along racial grounds that it accomplishes that whether it's intended or not. So it is a very very thorny issue. People have legitimate reasons to want to preserve a particular way in which a neighborhood has developed to preserve it's the nature of its downtown the nature of its housing that people have obviously very legitimate interest in preserving the environment. All of those things are perfectly legitimate goals and perfectly legitimate interests. But but at some point they can also be used to preserve the what was an explicitly segregated building pattern. Right. And so it's a very difficult thing to untangle what you're going to allow and what you're going to say. Well we understand that the environment is important but so too is achieving fair housing and achieving a chance for people of all races to live in neighborhoods that are you know have good schools and low crime and other essentials.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:29:33.07] I know looking at neighborhoods and patterns you know demographic patterns and neighborhoods. What is the number of white families in the neighborhood relative to the city overall let's say or you know black families relative to the proportions overall you do see and I'm getting this from your writings which you were kind enough to send me ahead of time Vicky but I know you tend to see for instance looking at New York City that you have areas of affluence which then correlate to higher proportions of segregation and color sameness. If that's an understandable term within that neighborhood. So you have an affluent neighborhood. New York City for instance that's higher concentration of white residents than in the overall City's population suggesting that there is still pretty profound segregation in neighborhoods when you look at race but as families as black families Latino families and other minorities do make it up the income ladder. Are they finding because the overt explicit discrimination barriers are now gone. Hopefully most. You know hopefully gone in practice as well as in law. Is there greater access to neighborhoods than there was before but because of the withdrawing of these barriers.

 

Vicky Been: [00:31:16.35] So I don't want to overstate the withdrawing of those barriers. I mean there are still tremendous evidence of overt discrimination. And new forms right as as things like. Home sharing platforms or you know roommate matching apps or those kinds of things become ubiquitous we're seeing all kinds of ways in which they are reintroducing some of the discriminatory patterns that we saw in the past. So and and one of the issues about you know revealing overt discrimination is that people have learned to use codes. They you know they they don't say I'm not going to give you an apartment because you are x may they come up with some other reason for it and discrimination has become more sophisticated. I mean there was a case in which you know it was proved that all of the people who answered the phone were trained to recognize the race and ethnicity of the person speaking because of their accent their speech patterns and that kind of thing. So you know I don't want to pretend as if it doesn't exist. It does. But but you're question really goes to. Are we seen as people of color achieve greater economic success. Are they achieving also greater opportunity in terms of housing. And yes to a certain extent. But what's what's still frightening and what's still so powerful I think is that people of color of all income levels live in neighborhoods that have much lower opportunities in terms of good schools low crime etc than do whites of all income classes. So for example the the shocking thing in New York City and it applies to many other cities. But I I know New York City best is that the average poor white in New York City lives in a neighborhood with better schools lower crime and other opportunities than the average New Yorker of all income groups. So the average poor white lives in better neighborhoods than the average New Yorker of all incomes. Once you figure in race and ethnicity. So it's not the case that just achieving economic parity will result in integration. And of course achieving economic parity is incredibly difficult when you've got a history of not being given access to credit. So you can't buy a house to build the wealth that whites were routinely able to build. Right. And if you haven't if that generation didn't build wealth and have a home that has a lot of value that can be used to get a mortgage to pay for the kids to go to college then that next generation doesn't do as well. And so you know catching back up economically is an enormous challenge. And even if we were able to catch everybody up economically there would still be very significant legacy of racial segregation. So we have to do more than that is what I'm saying.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:35:02.04] Right. And that's. And it's still I still see the greatest gray area in all of this is in this idea that cities and towns and municipalities have to affirmatively further fair housing because that's requiring government to do something. And then the question is well what is this something that they need to do. What can government do. What should they do. What will work if they do it. I mean all those questions come up. And so I'm still not clear you know I'm just imagining anybody who lives in a neighborhood of homes of single family homes would I think understandably resist a low income apartment building being added to their neighborhood for reasons that could have nothing to do with race or ethnicity or anything else. So what I mean what then do you think. And I know the issues are different looking at a big city like New York and Philadelphia where I work and other other big cities and areas that are outside of a city but perhaps starting with looking at our big cities and in this country what can be done from a housing perspective to deal with the disparities in neighborhoods beyond you know strict enforcement of the anti-discrimination provisions of the Fair Housing Act. What are some of the things that you think affirmatively can be done.

 

Vicky Been: [00:36:54.76] So the kinds of things that affirmatively can be done is that when you are building to be sure that you are allowing for a range of housing types and I understand that you know people who live in single family neighborhoods will resist a you know a 25 story building. Of course you have to do things that are in scale but you know the difference between a one family house and a two family house is not that great but it doubles the density. And so and there's lots of I was wandering around Philadelphia with my daughter who lives there this weekend and you know you see in block after block you see a house missing or you know an empty lot. Those can be built on and made available to lower income families which often are going to be not always obviously but are going to open up opportunities for lower income families for families of color to move into those neighborhoods. And if you can double the density you decrease the cost and that allows you to put in you know to to allow lower income people to move into those neighborhoods in many neighborhoods and in Philly in many neighborhoods in New York City for example you see that the houses that are occupied by people of color are often terribly in need of repair. And those families were often not allowed to take out the kind of credit that's needed to fix the roof or you know repair the siding that kind of thing. But by making sure that in your jurisdiction those loans are available and help is available to those homeowners to fix up those houses and keep them fixed up. You can you can prevent that entire block from becoming so blighted that it has to essentially be knocked down and rebuilt. So we can do a better job of making credit available and dealing with the fact that because of the legacy of discrimination that people of color do not have the kind of resources that whites do. You know the average white family has 40 times the wealth of the average black family right in the United States today. So making credit available it's not overly generous with credit because we know the kinds of problems that that led to in the 2007 2008 period. But right and responsible credit available helping people fix up their and maintain their homes. Helping people move in to new homes that are built in neighborhoods that are now predominantly white or predominantly higher income. All of those are relatively painless ways of achieving change.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:40:09.94] Well and I remember when I first moved to Philadelphia I was so impressed that kind with then Mayor Ed Rendell who later went on to become Governor Rendell who talked about the loss of manufacturing jobs in Philadelphia and the number of jobs lost was enormous. Was something like 250000 manufacturing jobs over a 25 year period he was talking about and the impact of that on neighborhoods. You know it is just impossible to fathom today. So I mean I think that to the extent cities are thinking about neighborhoods and housing has to go hand-in-hand with how they're thinking about their local economies too because people need jobs in order to have money to make repairs on their houses or to get better credit or to pay taxes to the city that then provide services to that community. So I mean that seems that's not exactly a fair housing initiative but it certainly bears on it and how all these things are interconnected.

 

Vicky Been: [00:41:20.61] And most I mean the the better housing agencies today realize that it takes action on all fronts. Housing affordability is not just about the cost of housing it's also about people's incomes and so when you build new housing. Be sure and train people to do that construction work so that they get better jobs and and skills that will take them into a better career opportunities but also in addition, I mean you posited the question of well what do we do in these neighborhoods that are single family neighborhoods that may resist additional density or that kind of thing. But also we have to repair the neighborhoods that we left behind right it's not a question of moving everybody out of neighborhoods that they may love many of them do love their neighborhoods and have worked for generations to improve those neighborhoods against the discrimination that those neighborhoods faced. But so we need to also invest money in making those schools better making transit available so that people can get to better jobs. Making... bringing crime down in those neighborhoods. So it's really what we houses call a both and approach both open up opportunities in the neighborhoods that are now predominantly white and you have to improve and bring the kind of improvements that the people living in neighborhoods of color now want to make their neighborhoods a place that they want to stay in. And it takes both of those and it takes a tie to job creation, job training, transit strategies and everything to get people to better jobs.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:43:13.44] Well we had Maria Foscarinis on the podcast a couple of weeks ago. She's the executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. And she talked about the issue the lack of access to low income housing is the biggest contributor to homelessness in our country. And so there's a strong connection to what we're talking about here to that whether it's renovating you know putting dollars investment into neighborhoods and I know the neighborhoods in Philadelphia you're talking about there are quite a few of them that are begging for investment to rejuvenate those neighborhoods by renovating those properties and those streets whether it's that way or in the way new housing some of it low income is built and developed for communities. There has to be access to affordable housing. I mean otherwise we will see increases in poverty, we'll see increases in homelessness. And as you have written about we're going to see a continuation in the segregating state of our communities as well.

 

Vicky Been: [00:44:41.64] You know one thing that I think is critically important on the homelessness front which applies more generally as well is that many people become homeless because of a shock to a system that doesn't have a lot of play in the joints right. So somebody gets sick and can't work for two months but they don't have two months savings to tide them over.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:45:05.91] Right.

 

Vicky Been: [00:45:06.9] And so one of the things that we are really trying to think about at the Furman Center is how do you provide you know basically transitional relief to say "OK you lost your job or you've got a divorce or you you fell ill and you're behind. How do we keep that from leading to you then getting evicted and then becoming homeless and once you're homeless you. Yes it's harder to get a job and you know, it just snowballs from there and nobody should end up in that snowball rolling down the hill to disaster when you could have prevented that by extending them two months of a loan or whatever. Right. And so we have to, I think, imagine though the role in which that housing plays in this, in a different way as a source of stability and not a source of instability that can then cascade into all kinds of other consequences.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:46:08.1] And that's not just talking about homeless shelters either right. You're talking about, thinking how a city can plan for those kinds of moments in people's lives. Which do happen. And we know they do. So are you saying that that could be a priority of cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and L.A. to have that type of transitional service available including housing?

 

Vicky Been: [00:46:39.87] Absolutely. Absolutely or just keeping a person in their home right. I mean you know a loan to somebody or extending a grant to somebody it's cheaper to pay a back rent on somebody who's fallen ill for example than it is to house them in a homeless shelter. So why not you know and obviously there are you know there are huge challenges in designing any program like that. But what we have, this idea and it goes back to what I was saying about white families having so many more resources than families of color if you know who have two months savings in the bank then you know you can weather a shock if you don't then you can't and then it starts to snowball into worse and worse and worse circumstances. So let's stop that snowball from happening by finding ways to loan people money, cover you know a shortage, help them build savings accounts that can help them weather those kinds of you know life happens and that's what we're dealing with.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:47:53.01] Right. Well Vikki does does the Furman Center have a Web site that you want to share in case people want to go and get more information about what we've talking about and see some of the articles you've written.

 

Vicky Been: [00:48:05.66] Absolutely. So it's just FurmanCenter.org. And you know we have all kinds of our research all kinds of data about the state of segregation the state of integration. So absolutely we would love to have people and we have a twice weekly newsletter and one thing and another that people can sign on.

 

Aaron Freiwald: [00:48:31.57] Fantastic. Well we've been talking about the Fair Housing Act. It's 50 years since its passage in 1968 and the enormous challenges that we all face the big cities in particular face in terms of housing and desegregating neighborhoods. And Vicky who's with NYU, New York University Law School and the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. Thank you so much for being on the program and for sharing this with us today. Appreciate it.

 

Vicky Been: [00:49:08.19] Thank you. It's a pleasure.