A recent Supreme Court decision has sparked discussion about local municipalities’ obligation to provide affordable housing to their citizens. The court ruled that communities could be guilty of discrimination for barring access to low income families, even if lack of access was unintentional.
The basis for this argument was that policies discouraging low income housing are disproportionately harmful to minorities. Texas has been reluctant to buy by the bowling, but may have no alternative. All low income citizens could benefit from this ruling if the federal government imposes new obligations on their communities.
What Does the Affordable Housing Ruling Mean for Texas?
The recent Supreme Court ruling means that cities with few affordable housing options may need to adopt new solutions for low income families. It may not be as serious of a concern for Fort Worth, but could be an issue for Dallas, San Antonio and some other large cities with larger shortages.
The ruling was spurred by problems in Dallas minority communities. The Inclusive Communities Project, which is a nonprofit organization that helps black families living in majority dominated areas, filed a lawsuit against a couple of Dallas suburbs. They also sued the Texas department of housing and community affairs.
The basis of the lawsuit was that many houses refuse to accept Section 8 housing vouchers. Despite the ruling, many neighborhoods are still refusing to accept Section 8 housing participants. City officials also haven’t come up with a solution for families that can’t find housing in other parts of their cities.
State officials are evading the ruling with a law that allows them to specify where housing credits are used. However, the Supreme Court may revisit the issue and find new measures are needed to enforce the law. They may find that some of the loopholes in these state mechanisms are also unconstitutional.