What’s "fair" in housing?

Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development.

March 27, 2017
7:00 p.m.

The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was perhaps the most contested piece of Civil Rights legislation, passed by Congress only in the wake of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today, discrimination in sale or rent of housing on the basis on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status is unlawful. Yet enforcement of the law has always lacked teeth, and housing discrimination remains persistent and pervasive—with compounding effects on school quality, economic opportunity, health, and more.

In our fifth Brass Tacks discussion, fair housing expert Fred Freiberg will detail the realities and consequences of housing discrimination. He will also explain the efforts of housing advocates to eliminate housing discrimination, promote policies that foster inclusive communities, and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws.

Ample time for conversation will follow Fred’s presentation. You bring the questions, we’ll supply the experts and the wine.

Fred Freiberg is one of the nation’s leading experts on the use of testing as an investigative tool to enforce civil rights laws. Fred currently serves as the Executive Director for the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), a regional civil rights organization that he co-founded in 2004. Prior to 2004, Fred worked for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice where he directed a national testing program that he helped to establish in the Division’s Housing and Civil Enforcement Section in 1992. Previously, he was a founder and the first Executive Director of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council and worked as a private consultant providing technical assistance and training to public and private fair housing enforcement agencies across the United States. In 1991, he worked as a consultant on a Congressionally-mandated evaluation of testing guidelines in HUD’s Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) and from 1999 to 2002, Fred was retained by the Urban Institute to manage the testing in two national research projects.

Recommended reading: “Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law” by Nikole Hannah-Jones (ProPublica 2012)

About Housing Brass Tacks

Understanding housing policy, finance, and regulation is daunting. One must wade through a sea of acronyms, untangle public and private interests, trace knotty financial flows, and decrypt complex bureaucracies. Making heads or tails of all this can take a lifetime, but the need to understand is urgent. We all feel New York City’s housing squeeze; increased affordable housing is a centerpiece of our mayor’s agenda; and sweeping changes in housing and community development policy may soon come at the federal level. The Architectural League is here to introduce (or refresh) our housing proficiency. Housing Brass Tacks is an informal discussion series designed as a primer on big ideas and essential mechanics in housing policy and development. We’re getting down to brass tacks: the fundamentals that structure this unwieldy topic.