National Fair Housing Month may be coming to a close, but the conversation around eliminating housing discrimination must continue. More than 50 years after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law, housing discrimination continues to disproportionately impact minority communities in Sandy Springs and across the country.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on various factors, including national origin.
According to Census data, the Hispanic population is the fastest growing population in America. The Justice Department has taken steps to prevent municipal governments from attempting to reduce or limit the number of Hispanic families that live in their communities, but the reality is that there are still ongoing practices which discriminate against Hispanic families.
An example of where this could happen in Sandy Springs is the proposed redevelopment of the “Crossroads” area, which includes land east and west of Roswell Road, from I-285 to the southern end of The Prado shopping center. This area is home to almost 7,000 Sandy Springs residents, most of whom are Hispanic, with a median annual income under $64,000.
Sandy Springs city leaders have an opportunity to demonstrate support for fair housing by developing a plan to prevent the displacement of our neighbors living in this area.
A 2019 article in the Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law describes actions taken by three local governments to protect lower-income residents from displacement pressures.
In these case studies, the authors recommend the following: “develop displacement strategies at the same time as revitalization efforts, prepare for large financial commitments, intervene early to remove land from market pressure and lower expectations about the ability to entirely eliminate displacement.” A summary of the study can be found here.
At Sandy Springs Together, we believe in a community that values and upholds fair housing practices for all. Sandy Springs can demonstrate to other communities how to plan for the future while ensuring we provide fair housing for our residents.