The New York Times
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD JULY 11, 2015
"The Supreme Court issued an important ruling last month when it reminded state and local governments that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 bars them from spending federal housing money in a manner that perpetuates racial segregation.
Last week, the Obama administration took an even more important step — one that has already changed the decades-long discussion about how to combat residential segregation. It rewrote the rules under the provision of the act that requires state and local governments to “affirmatively further” housing goals by making real efforts to cope with the cumulative results of the discrimination that confined black Americans to ghettos in the first place.
For the new rules to be effective, federal officials need to make clear that local governments can lose federal housing aid if they persist in dumping subsidized housing into depressed, racially isolated communities instead of putting more of it in integrated areas that offer better schools and job opportunities.
The fact that it has taken nearly 50 years since the law’s passage for these common-sense changes to materialize is all the more distressing, given that federally sanctioned housing discrimination has played a central role in racial ghettoization.
The Fair Housing Act was intended to break down historic patterns of segregation. But it was undercut from the start by federal officials, including presidents who believed that segregation was the natural order of things. With the threat of sanctions almost nonexistent, many state and local governments confined subsidized housing to poor minority neighborhoods and found it quite easy to hide these wrongful practices behind ineffective, vaguely worded rules and loose oversight….
The rule is a warning for governments and nonprofit housing developers that have an interest in building as much subsidized housing as quickly as possible and that have been roundly criticized for building too much of it in depressed areas and speciously calling the process “revitalization.” Builders will no longer be able to take the path of least resistance, avoiding better neighborhoods out of fear of not-in-my-backyard crusaders."