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FHEA: Fair Housing Equity Assessment

The intent of Congress in passing the Fair Housing Act was to replace segregated neighborhoods with truly integrated and balanced living patterns. The federal Fair Housing Act was first passed in 1968 that prohibited discrimination in housing and housing-related transactions on the basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. Subsequent amendments in 1974 and 1988 added protections for gender, familial status, and disability.

As part of the Fair Housing Act, there is a mandate to undo patterns of segregation and discrimination by affirmatively furthering fair housing. All programs and activities that receive federal funding for housing and urban development are required to be administered in a way that affirmatively furthers fair housing.

In October 2010, the St. Louis region was awarded a $4.7 million planning grant through the Sustainable Communities Planning Grant program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). The planning process in the St. Louis region is undertaken by the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD), a partnership of 11 core partners and hundreds of additional partners from a variety of public, private, and non-profit organizations. The goal of the three-year planning process is to create a regional plan that builds the capacity of local and regional leaders to implement sustainable practices by sharing knowledge, best practices, and resources; connecting local, regional, state, and federal planning efforts; and making federal and local investments more effective and efficient.

Recognizing that communities cannot be sustainable if segregation and racial disparities continue to exist, the sustainable communities planning process requires a regional approach to furthering fair housing. As part of the planning process, the RPSD is required to conduct a Fair Housing Equity Assessment (FHEA). This assessment is designed to address issues of racial disparities and access to opportunities throughout the St. Louis region. The FHEA is an opportunity to address these issues on a regional scale with a collaborative approach through the RPSD. The FHEA involves not just data analysis and evaluation, but the engagement of such data that informs strategy development and planning in order to address ways of creating inclusive and sustainable communities.

The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council was commissioned to complete the FHEA.  For a pdf copy of the final draft, click here.

 


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