Blacks and the American Dream of Housing
Robert D. Bullard
The goal of a "decent home for all Americans" became a slogan and model in 1949 from which a general housing policy was to have emerged. The postdepression and post-World War II strategies of the federal government exerted a great deal of influence over the private housing industry through mortgage loan guarantees, tax incentives, and construction financing, to mention a few. Moreover, federal policy shifts over the past thirty-five years have affected housing markets and have contributed to shaping residential areas and the quality of life in the nation's urban centers.
Government intervention into the housing industry has not affected all segments of the population equally. The nation's blacks, for example, have not benefited to the same degree as their white counterparts by the changing opportunity structure. The housing options and opportunities that are available to blacks have been shaped largely by a number of factors which include: (1) federal housing policies, (2) institutional and individual discrimination in housing markets, (3) geographic location and housing construction priorities, and (4) demographic changes that have taken place in the nation's urban areas.
Compared to whites today, the end result of these factors on black households has meant reduced housing choices and limited mobility for a significant segment of the American population.
Federal housing policies were the chief sponsor of suburban development in the 1950s and 1960s. Much of the current residential housing patterns and problems of segregation can be traced directly to the government's role