First HAND – 05/02/2016


Last week I touched on the effects of disparate impact and today I wanted to further explain its importance and relevance. Again, disparate impact is a legal doctrine under the Fair Housing Act saying that any policy imposed that unintentionally creates discrimination or imbalance in a community, must be changed. The doctrine was first created after Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs vs Inclusive Communities Project Inc.

Inclusive Communities Project is a non-profit in Texas that helps families find and buy affordable housing. The organization claimed that Texas agency was disproportionately giving tax credits. By giving most of their tax credits to predominately black inner-city areas, the poverty there was being contained in those areas, making it difficult for residents to escape the poverty cycle. Inclusive Communities Project argued that the Texas agency should also give tax credits to economically stable suburban areas to create educational opportunities and job opportunities for lower income families. Giving tax credits to these locations would help prevent the economically unstable cycle many people found themselves in. The case was taken to the Supreme Court where they ruled in favor of Inclusive Communities Project. The ruling made it clear that disparate impact claims are under the Fair Housing Act, meaning it is recognized as an indirect form of discrimination.

The ruling makes it apparent that any form of discrimination, whether intended or not, will not be tolerated. Many states were prompted to correct any policies or laws that went against the ruling. Today, Indiana aims to maintain a balance in building affordable housing in prospering neighborhoods to enable economic mobility, or the ability to improve economic status, for all families and individuals. By continuously creating housing for all types of people with varying incomes, Indiana can produce an environment where anyone can receive a good education, quality jobs, and other opportunities. Increasing the economic mobility and making it available to all residents is extremely important for overall economic growth and resident wellbeing.

HAND hopes that the court case will increase the prevention of housing discrimination and hopes the effects of disparate impact will continue to be limited. People need affordable housing, and not in areas that keep low income families and individuals trapped. As Americans we believe in the land opportunity, and the ability to transform your life with hard work. When unfair treatment such as discrimination and disparate impact are still present in our society, it becomes difficult to achieve the dreams and ideals that make American citizens proud.