Thursday, July 23, 2015

Castro: In America, geography has consequences

"A ZIP code should never prevent people from reaching their aspirations. That's why the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has taken an important step to promote greater access to quality, affordable housing for all Americans. We published a final rule updating the process by which local communities use HUD funding to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing — a key provision of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

When this landmark law was passed 47 years ago, it boldly declared that all Americans deserve an equal chance to access safe, affordable housing near quality schools, transportation and jobs — no matter who they are, what they look like, how they worship or where they are from. As part of this effort, the Fair Housing Act required local governments and states that receive HUD funding to use it to promote fair housing and expand access to opportunities. That's why we've published this rule, to simplify that process and provide better partnership to local leaders working to put opportunity within reach of every resident they serve.

In this age of limited resources, communities are often operating without the data and tools they need to chart the landscape of opportunity in their area and craft locally tailored plans to achieve their goals.

HUD's new effort will provide these resources. It will empower mayors, county officials, and community members with publicly-open data and tools to eliminate the barriers that block many Americans from getting ahead in life. As a former mayor, I know how valuable these resources are for communities."

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