Neighborhoods shape every element of our lives. Where we live determines economic opportunities; our exposure to police and pollution; and the availability of positive amenities for a healthy life. Home inequity—both financial and racial—is not accidental. Federal government programs have armed white people with agency to construct “white” spaces while stigmatizing “Black” spaces. The urgency of addressing structural injustice in housing has been laid bare by police-involved shootings and the disparate death rates linked to COVID-19.
Using political philosopher Tommy Shelbie’s theory of corrective justice, this Article explores the historical and present-day harms that need to be rectified and then offers a path forward through concrete changes to federal housing policy. This Article’s proposals address access to homeownership, stable housing for renters, reliable mass transit, and increased availability of affordable housing. The policy prescriptions are intended to address systemic racism, but the changes wrought would benefit people across race and ethnicity. As those on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement argue: freedom and justice for Black people will extend to freedom and justice for all people.
Rachel D. Godsil & Sarah E. Waldeck, Home Equity: Rethinking Race and Federal Housing Policy, 98 DENV. L. REV. 523 (2021).