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tv   Former Housing Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro Discusses...  CSPAN  April 20, 2021 7:12pm-8:01pm EDT

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the urban institute. >> today's event is part of a series of discussions with changemakers and policy analysts on questions ranging from the covid-19 crisis in the long-overdue reckoning with our nation's structural racism.
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on day one of the new it administration, president biden's first executive order spoke of an all-of-government approach and equity in every aspect of policy choice. the president issued a memorandum that acknowledges the federal government's legacy of promoting segregation and housing dissemination and proposes--housing discrimination . this acknowledgment of responsibility is unprecedented, but as always, what matters next is what we do with it. our conversation will focus on how the federal government can work with states and localities on the fair housing act and its commitment to closing equity gaps in housing. for this composition, no one better to have joined us today than former secretary of housing and urban developing in the obama administration, sec. julian castro. there you are. thank you so much for being here. mr. castro: great to be with you.
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sarah: so i'm curious to ask you what you think it means -- start with the day one commitment the president made to say you and i have been part of processes where there were equity and civil rights issues over here and other conversations happening about transportation. they weren't always integrated particularly well. i'm curious how you responded to that commitment on the part of the president. mr. castro: i was happy to see it. it is invaluable, because it sends a strong message to all the cabinet secretaries, every agency had, and the deputy secretaries that y'all need to connect the dots of these policies. people don't live their lives in silos. it is about fair housing, but it is also how it connect to education opportunity, transit opportunity, economic opportunity, that allows one to
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break down the barriers of discrimination and allows people to overcome these obstacles if we address them holistically. there are things like public credit reporting agency that during the campaign, the biden that during the campaign, the biden campaign put forward as an idea, something like that connects directly to the ability of potential homeowners on every background, but particularly homeowners of color to get better access to capital. so, so far so good. i think that was a strong way to start. i trust, that so many of the people that serve in the administration are similarly oriented. i trust there will be great collaboration. building on things from the obama administration like sustainable communities and climate zones and choice neighborhoods. >> so the next thing, almost in
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this line of work, but our new administration did is presidential memorandum that acknowledged -- and the ways that it contributed to simplification and the denial of opportunity to people, particularly in black and brown and other disadvantaged communities. talk a little bit about how -- and then we'll talk a little bit about the -- but again, let's talk first about the acknowledgment itself and what do you think it means? >> you can't fix a problem until you acknowledge it. and, you know, that seems so simple and it is, but let's be clear. the previous administration wanted to change the mission statement of the department of housing development to take out its mission, to create equal opportunity and housing. that's why it's so important that as soon as this administration started, they said no. this is the true history of how
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policies were disadvantaged people of color and other communities, we're going to acknowledge that and now we're going to work overcome that. that is fundamental, again it sends a strong signal and, i think it gets things started off on the right foot. >> so the order mandates that they visit the set of policies, many of them develop during your tenure, initially but then were changed. and a set of activities that you would sort of map out that never got to completion. did you talk a little bit and we have obviously some true aficionados on this audience and we have some others who may not be as in the details, can you just give us a little overview of what that change, why was it important to revisit this agenda and will be to hope that would go? >> towards the end of the obama
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administration, this is really something to develop throughout the obama administration, started with my predecessor, sean donovan and then we completed it, gustavo alaska's who was on this room who is leading the charge as deputy secretary, and first extended the invitation for me to join today. we're in a cruel, along with so many others of getting further in further housing. and as many folks on the sumo no but some may not be as familiar. he was basically unfinished business for 1968, there was a housing act that said two cities, counties, housing authorities to get federal taxpayer dollars pay. you have to becomes more serious and develop a real plan behind how you're going to ensure fair housing opportunity in your jurisdiction. and this had been tried once before, i think in the late 90s undersecretary cuomo and they pushed and pushed it, almost got there and then fortunately,
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we were able to get it over the finish line. that was significant because it required something substantive leave me more from jurisdictions that have the power to adjust these issues. and it also sets a strong signal, not only to house years but everybody else that we need to ensure there is equality of a -- opportunity. we take something like that, in addition to the work we were trying to do to, you know, work with fhfa and look at ways that we can improve access to capital, try to strengthen fha so that in can continue to be, and even expand on what an essential tool it is for minority home buyers, first time home buyers. there's a lot of work that was done, you know, i think that there is much more work to do, the other one is equal access
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rule with the trump administration peeled back, i was happy to see where the biden administration is gonna go in the right direction there, with respect to everybody and the lgbtq community, including transgender individuals. that's very important. >> so, the path, their journey that your administration was on was not only to lay out or set up set of principles or requirement of, motive analysis but then also to put in place tools to help localities to try to move forward. and that infrastructure requires dollars, but it also requires some regulatory halved behind it. there was a severe reversal on not only the rule itself, but on obviously support for the local jurisdictions and thinking about this. and yet, at the same time, because of the pandemic and because of george floyd, there is more interest at the local
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level to think about equity and how they build it than ever before. i'm curious, there's been a huge ping-pong of policy in this area and, what are the consequences of that? and do you feel that it's possible to pick up where we left off? or do we have some more work to do? >> you make a very good point, sarah. i had a couple of thoughts on that. number one, you know this be because you were there, you are always going to have a little bit of pushback from those local jurisdictions. but anytime you're trying to get them to do something more than they've been doing, whether it's housing authorities, facilities, -- you always have this push and pull and tug of war but we were able to, and this was done before i got there, look at the input of a lot of these jurisdictions and incorporate that into the tools that we put forward with the a f f h..
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essentially to get enough buying to get it over the finish line. because of the moment that we are in, after the murder of george floyd the push from the black lives matter movement, this focus on equity, i'm here in san antonio right now, where we have a mirror who has made his entire tenure about the city of equity. so yes, i think that we do have a better opportunity right now on these issues and to help achieve a fair housing landscape. the other thing that's fascinating to me is that if you think about it electorally, what's happened in the 18 and 20 cycles, is that you've seen the politics of the suburbs change, such that you actually have on balanced, more progressives and, you know, the state of partisan -- but more democrats would have been elected to city councils in the county commissions of the suburbs. we've never seen that before. so, you may have an opportunity here to actually, in the
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suburbs, to get some fair housing policy done and partnerships with hud, with state agencies more than ever before. because now you have folks in place that are more oriented and agreeable to that that just weren't there before. that hasn't been written enough, it hasn't been analyzed enough, i don't even with the numbers are exactly yet, but i do believe that there is something care. >> so, i suspect many in the audience would love for me to have another discussion with you about immigration reform, and then maybe will invite you back for that. but you obviously spend some time thinking about power of the presidency and what it can achieve in a country that is still quite starkly divided. it i'd be really interested to hear your hopes for what happens. where do you think, not only the first steps, we've been talking about some of them in their home, what is your sort of broader scope of four years from now, where do you hope the
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country will be and what will they have accomplished by then? >> on immigration? >> i'm taking you back to fair housing. >> no, on fair housing -- >> one more generally on our cities and what was in your portfolio. >> a lot. first of all, i hope we're going to have a fundamental recommitment to urban communities. when i was there, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of howard and howard was founded, as you know, right in the middle of a lot of unrest in communities, but with a real care recognition that cities are worth investing in and those people in the communities aren't worth investing in. and with everything that we've just dealt with during this pandemic, meaning equities that we've seen, in housing, in education, and this divide that we really feel now more than ever before because of remote learning.
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and job opportunities, different health outcomes, we need to fundamentally commitment to have an investment. i hope we see that from congress and from the administration. secondly, i hope that we are able to connect those policy dots and work across those lines a lot more than the federal government models that and that's then taken up at the state level and the local level. i would also say, it's my hope that this administration will lead the charge in sparking greater regional it -- regionalism because it forever going to tackle these problems, the way that we need to, it's going to require more than just the big city doing its part, whether that means providing affordable housing units or transit opportunities or any number of other things that people on the lower end of the income scale and middle class americans need, especially suburbs are going to have to step up and do their part. and it's a real partnership, you know, they don't need to be
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dictated to but they definitely seem to be more engaged than they have been. >> another conversation is how housing prides itself, we're very grateful. our great deputy, you're great deputy for bringing new, connecting us today. really grateful to you for joining us and for your service and will continue the conversation. thanks so much for being here. >> thanks for the great work you all do. >> thanks. take care. and with that, i'd love to invite my panelist colleagues to taunt -- turn on their cameras. we have solomon greene who's a fellow -- and during the obama administration, did a stint working on the affirmatively forward on the housing rules. gustavo velasquez who today is the director of the counselor -- community development. previously served at hud as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity. and also did a stint endeavor
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as senior fellow at the administration, who were very sad to have back with us. and our dear friend had a great champion on these issues, the president and chief executive officer of the national fair housing alliance. so guys, thank you so much for being here. i'm going to start with you, solomon, we just heard him describe why he believes a fair housing is so important. so when we start going back a little bit about what's putting us on urban institutes, and let's start with the fact based on evidence. so give us a little thought about what's they tell us about the cost of segregation and why the focus on fair housing is so important to advance, sort of broader goals of equity and prosperity. >> well thank you sarah, i just want to say thank you for hosting this important and timely discussion. i'd like secretary castro for
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your leadership and service and for kicking us off. and i think it's crucial to emphasize that the world of public policies at all levels of government played in creating the patterns of segregation, and racially concentrated poverty that we see today. part of research is to understand our history, right? so i do think it's related to the question of the research, an increasingly, we are seeing research and historians documenting, not just what the policies have been from redlining through urban renewal through exclusionary zoning, but the impact has policies had today. it's important to emphasize this because it demonstrates that the patterns we see today are not driven by individual choices or some sort of natural mechanism. but the government had a really important role to play and while that's disturbing, it should give us some hope
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because the government will also have a role to play. to get there, we need the political will to act and research can help with that, as well. and there is this ruling body of research that shows how segregation hurts everyone. it hurts the families that are locked out of neighborhoods, that a region opportunities, but it also drags down our economy against grave health risks. government institutes, colleagues have documented that more segregated metropolitan areas experience higher rates of homicides, low earnings, lower income, metropolitan areas and recently the national community investment coalition published a research showing how covid-19 risk factors are higher in the same communities that were redlined in the early 20th and mid 20th centuries. to really demonstrates the legacy that these federal policies had and the great race that they posed to us as a
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society today. and so, i'll just wrap up by saying, i do think that the data, the evidence and the research starts help, it gives to the important role of policies of play, and it rule the policies need to play in the federal levels today, so that we can share prosperity. lisa, the last 40 so lisa the last four years you were in a period of some frustration i think for the agenda that you and the organization has been leading. so to tell us a little bit about the policy differences. the policy controversies that were there, and now that hud has been directed to revisit both this -- rule and the housing role, one of the goals and objectives that you have for this period that you hope for the next
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iteration of regulatory policy and what it will's address. >> that is a great question, and i do think that president biden and this administration has already begun to deliver on some of those reforms that we expected to see. we issued our policy, our priorities for the new administration before the administration was implemented. and so we are very happy to see the administration take some of the steps and you and secretary castro, you just talked about a number of them the racial equity order and the fair housing memorandum. those are things that we asked the administration to do and we are very pleased to see the administration take those steps. but if president biden expects to make any advancement on his campaign promise to address
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housing inequities and racial inequality, if those orders that he just released are really going to have any chance at all at this administration, this administration really has to immediately fix the problem with the affirmative and fair housing rule. the trump administration eviscerating both of those rules and to basically make them null and void. and ineffective. that is really a shame, because those tools are the tools that we have to achieve racial equity and other forms of equity in housing. the doctrine is one of the most important civil rights tools that we have, and it enables people to challenge systems and policies that drive harmful impacts, because it allows us to address structures that don't appear to be discriminatory. that may seem face basically neutral, but a deeper
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examination of those policies reveals very harmful impacts on protecting groups of people. the law requires those policies to be other completely eliminated or to be replaced with policies that have no discriminatory effect, for a lesser discriminatory effect. it's a most effective tool that we have for addressing systemic racism. and then, once the administration fixes the rule and we are really relying on the administration to fix the rule right away, because we have lost it and we have cases pending in court right now that are hinging on the disparity of impact rule. that has got to be fixed right away. and then the administration has to apply a doctrine to the federal government's policies and programs, to really exact systems change. it does no good for us to have the rule on the books, if we
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are not using them so the federal government has to dismantle those structures that are driving discriminatory outcomes and revamp those systems and implement new structures that are fair and i will point out a few. the qualified mortgage rule. it was initially implemented in a way that was really driving very clear inequities based on race and national origin. now we have a new rule that is based on the pricing approach, and has the opportunity to expand credit options under certain groups. but leaves the door open for pricing discrimination. credit scoring policies. the federal government right now, is requiring the use of an outdated credit score that we know drives discriminatory impacts. and when there are other newer scores available, to have a less discriminatory effect on underserved groups. the lone level pricing
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adjusting adjustment policies. appraisal policies. that has been in the news lately, there are all these areas that we are expecting the biden administration to apply the disparity impact theory, to exact systems change. the last thing that i will say, and i will also say with respect to disparity impact, we are expecting the biden administration to use this theory and it's enforcement actions that are taken up by the department of justice, the department of hud, and the last thing i do want to make a point about fair housing that as the you know this role which has never been enforced. this provision of the law that has never been enforced, we have a unique opportunity to enforce it. and so we do expect for the administration to reinstate the
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2015 role as to what you guys had just talked about but then to update the data tools and assessments. we have much more powerful technology that we can use. we can use a machine learning, to really bring the force of technology to bear and to help identify where there are barriers to housing and lending opportunities and then fix them and address them but i do want to point out finally, that what jurisdictions and public housing's and authorities and other state -- have been calling on for decades, is really effective technical assistance, training and support as it relates to implementing fair housing. i think there is a high expectations for this administration to deliver on that front. >> thank you and gustavo, these were rules that you helped to
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shepherd to the finish line during the last administration. so before i'm going to ask you who is now sitting in a different seat, and can you just described and i think we had a great discussion can you give me to a two second description of the mechanism by which the rule would interact with local jurisdiction policy, and practice and then we will turn to your new seat at state government. >> yes thank you for the invitation and it's great to see my colleagues and friends here and it is very important as you pointed out to restore the rule the way that it was -- in 2015. because setting policies, priority policies and mandates and incentives from the federal government can really courtenay efforts on the their way at the state and local level you know
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we have our individuals anchor in this law that passed in 2018 which is 86 86 to respond to the change that was happening which is no longer enforcing the role. this law in essence codified the interstate law, of the obama era. and this means implementing all of our housing programs at the state level that way, but also the works of other critical entities. it's not just housing right. it's connection with house and transportation, education and employment. on the local jurisdiction side, our state law gets to the important issue of accommodating more affordable housing with higher density and loaning zoning in the right locations. so the new house is built without exacerbating segregation. and this is a good example, we need to take significant action
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and they recently eliminated single family zoning. we are starting to see a trend, and other cities may follow suit. like in different places. and it's much easier if all of this is done -- so there is no room for failure, with our coordinated ability to have a truly integrated housing. >> can i ask a technical question, because i did not know this and expect others don't, it is not a matter of just reinstating. you have a role in place now, and can they just reverse it or do they have to change it? what do you imagine the trajectory of policy? >> i think they would have to reinstate it. the trump administration basically basically the ruling would have to be going through the same regulatory channel to put it back in place. but at the same time, the hud
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team can still work on the assessments of their housing, and our interval part of these regulation, and how cities go about estimating levels of segregation, and one of meaningful action they have to take. and you're right, the regulatory process can be cumbersome, so that will probably take a little while. >> so i want to turn back to you to talk to solomon, to talk about what is behind this? we are looking today, at the current policies in place that could either be changed or the practices at local levels need to be changed so we end up with meaningful access to fair housing and not communities that are disconnected from access to opportunity. there are a number of different policy lovers that require examination when you take that
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approach to policy, and one of them that many people are talking about the zoning. i wanted to ask you to use that as an example if you will to a mechanism as how these rules operate, and then we could come back and talk a little bit about why there seems to be a kind of convergence on the left and the right of zoning. >> absolutely great we don't need to dig deep into our past to find how public policy perpetuates segregation and exclusion. we have it here every day. you know it's embodied in the aspects of zoning and the aspects of local zoning is not that it's exclusionary, but there are probably many communities across the country, and even over dense urban centers where the only housing you can build is single family detached housing. what that means is by
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definition that you if you are not building housing you're cutting off the supply first of all which will drive up cost but you are not necessarily making housing available across a diverse range so there is been and speaking of evidence, you know there the evidence is growing and growing and growing. it's growing as to the effect that the overly restrictive land use and zoning laws have not just just not for segregation, but housing affordability, and most recently how we've had folks like jason -- and eric, writing about how these local laws bring down our entire economy. as a nation. and so i do think that the problem is that these laws not just the laws but how they are
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enforced on specific projects. it we have traditionally given a lot of deference to local communities, to write their own zoning and what this results in, and in a recent paper, we called a lot of lift little local decisions which caused some really big problems. and any individual zoning decision may not be you know malicious and it may not be intended to exclude but the effect is that they often do exclude. when that happens what you do is you need the federal government and city leaders bold city leaders, like we've seen in annapolis and elsewhere stepping in and saying we can do better we can make sure that every community provides enough housing and that is it is appropriate and accessible to people who live in our broader
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community and so i think you know it doesn't mean taking away local controls, it may make sure that local controls are used responsibly. i think it all we can come back to the federal government but i think states play an important role, and can i take it can i pass it over to you to take it from here. >> yes california is a great state study. we are very blue state, but we have conservative and progressive -- at the same time. you know this is happening up and down the state so and this ideological views are not drawn across brick red or blue lines, as you know. and that's not necessarily the case. but i think that is when we see the crisis for availability
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arise at enormous proportions. that's where we are in california. there is no community in california that is being touched by homelessness and people are taking notice. even in the most exclusionary area. and decimated we have had decimated of local budgets, but when we talk about zoning and land use, and economic recovery it has to be a tight infrastructure, and that has to be tied to housing production jobs. this is even more critical for the supply issue to prevent homelessness from becoming bigger and this is number one issue here in the state right now it's a crisis of homelessness but before you get to the housing production costs, you have to change your local policies. joined from our experience here in california, i would raise the importance of supporting regulatory frames that are pro housing. likely have been designing a
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pro housing designation, which at its core values investments in the way to promote -- . it has the potential for incentivizing performance in zoning deregulation and to gain concrete benefits for being exceptional and including things like getting extra scoring points, you know and this can be done even more impactful eat at the federal level so this is one thing that you know in states like california we would love to see some kind of pro housing and some type of initial initiative at the federal level so it can create incentives that will support enormously efforts like the ones we are creating here. >> and gustavo i would i like you noting that the divides of
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this has more to do with geography that in many cases it had to do with blue or red populations and our education sent center came out with a report, on schools and segregation, and it shows the degree to which you could almost immediately advance school integration by simply changing the borders within jurisdictions in certain areas. and so much about that is about neighborhoods. so i would have you overlap the patterns of school and patterns of neighborhoods that have been inclusive an exclusive. you would find a lot of alignment. and so, i appreciate you making that point. i also wanted to ask solomon briefly, before i get lisa to talk more about the local perspective but you made a point about the focus on zoning. you talked about the economic
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drive. there is a conservative argument, that comes at this to which says part of the reason we have a huge supply -- that we have and the rising prices, it's from a different very different place than the inclusionary argument of the left. is that it is and inefficient market allocation of housing supply from the right. can you spend a moment on that before i turn to lisa? >> yes it's such an important point, that conservatives and progressives often do align at a certain level, or they may come from different places and from a purely pragmatic standpoint maybe it doesn't matter, maybe as long as we find some place of agreement to advance and some policies that really support the common good let's go for it but progressives often point to the role that zoning place in racial inequality and segregation. and we did talk about that it does.
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and conservatives and economists point to the fact that land use regulations play in constricting the supply of housing and, housing costs which it does. and we can hold both of those things because it's true at the same time the devil if you will comes in designing comes in the details of designing policy solutions and i think it's important to design solutions which is not solely focused on the regulation. deregulation and some of these exclusionary barriers should do it, but let's not kid ourselves. you know that that's going to redress the history that we've been talking about. and this is called the racist history of policymaking and all levels of government. and nor is it going to single handedly, resolve housing
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affordability issues. we need to look at some of the strategies and we have to combine them with a commitment to continue to support. basically deeply affordable housing that families that need it the most, and we have to make sure that everybody has a chance for the kids to have a fair shot at success. i think conservatives and progressives can basically get around that last point. and home prices and rents have been going through the roof. and we can build support for subsidy incentives as well. >> so lisa, i want to ask you about what you are seeing in the local communities. there are some communities that have been really pursuing this agenda. you are arguing that in your last remarks about the importance of --
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. what are some of the models and best practices that you are seeing in select communities? and what does it give you like that in a lot with the federal government due to give you regular support, and visibility? >> yes and you know sarah it is interesting, because i think that the covid pandemic has resulted in a lot of efforts at the local level to address housing issues. because what's the covid pandemic did, is it really revealed the intersection between health and housing. and it helped a lot i think of local leaders as well as federal leaders, understand very clearly how health is housing. the two cannot be disconnected from one another. so you're seeing lots of organizing around eviction, protection because people are realizing that if you are evicted or foreclosed on, if
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you do not have stable housing that is affordable to you you are going to be more susceptible to the impacts of the coronavirus. so we are seeing organizing also around climate justice issues. climate displacement issues. this is a very interesting development because what we see is climate justice, community based organizations doing housing. environmental organizations doing housing. health organizations doing housing. and organizations who are focused on food access doing housing. and what this is doing is it is a f-h.. that is exactly what the fair housing is all about which is creating opportunity, where people have the right and the ability to live and stay in
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affordable housing in communities that are well resourced. we see educational community based educational organizations, organizing around housing. and so we do see this gelling, and the thing i think the federal government can do to support these local communities is too short sure up the framework, and the infrastructure because that really is the foundation upon which all of this work can gel and formulate and we can create policies. not working in silos, affh is about eliminating the silos. and that work to eliminating barriers to opportunity. the last thing i will say is this is happening at a higher
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level to. for example we are seeing for the first time, industry stakeholders coming out and supporting the business roundtable, and supporting the disparity impact and the fair housing. so this is really bubbling up so that we have entities who have never been interested in housing rice, and housing justice issues, never been interested in these issues before and they are now very very engaged. >> okay so we can promise folks that we are going to bring this to a close about three minutes, we are going to do a speed around here. i'm going to ask each of you the same question that i asked secretary castro. your -- from where you sick, your hopes of what you would want to be accomplished in the next three four years. before we get there i will say one thing, which we have a lot of questions in the chat about discrimination. so solomon, you have to 32nd
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answers. first answer is just do you have any sense of whether the administration is going to take on an agenda, and super quick. on discrimination and that's a real quick. and even quicker your hopes for the next four years? >> yes i don't know the answer to whether the take on the income protection, but what the federal government can do right now is pave the path to make local protections and state corrections that are already unpaid in place, and build it to federal protections by making sure that they are doing everything they can to educate landlords about the housing choice program, to improve the way that local housing thirties have done to make it friendlier. that is not the answer but we do know, even in places state and local governments and our reacher research has shown this, that income questions are all
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soft are on the often violated. they're also a lot of problems with the administration of the program that needs to be taken seriously. so that was not an answer, because that's a legislative decision, to have a source of federal income protection. even within hud regulatory power, we can't go too far. okay >> long term outcome? >> long-term i want to go back to where secretary casper started, meeting to connect the dots. across agencies, break down the barriers and i think there's a lot of work that has hud can do but everything we talked about is the intersection of housing and education, and economic development, and criminal justice. all of these areas in which the federal government plays such an important role. and one thing the federal government has not done a great
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job, is working across silos and agencies. i have one big hope, is that we can have a broader regional equity, the agenda that all agencies can get behind. more collaboratively. and it will end up being to the benefit of everyone in this country's. and if they can succeed in doing that. >> okay gustavo, one hope for the next period? >> i would say one hope, i just want to say one quick thing about source of income, it is risky business to open up in fair housing act amendments. i think the conditions have to be perfect for that to happen. but if it does happen, if it does happen the source of income protection has to be a must in the future. whatever future amendments in the fair housing act. and hope restoring fully the -- rule as it was promulgated in 2015. and using a framework of
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federal funding incentives based on a measure of performance in affordable housing production. in fair housing of regions across the country, that i think will inevitably have to be done without being mandated. some type of loaning zoning and for the lands. >> okay alicia get the last word here your hope? >> reinstatement of the president's fair housing council. which we want to be chaired by the vice president of the united states. >> all right then, so we really preet really appreciate you guys sharing your vision and your work, and thank you to all of our audience for joining us and making this a blockbuster crowd on a friday night. you all have a wonderful weekend, and please i hope you'll stay safe and be well. thank you solutions of i.
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each week american history tvs american artifacts visits museums and historic places you're looking at petersen house here in washington dc where president abraham lincoln passed away at 7:22. am on april 15th of 1865. up next a tour of the former boarding house located across the street from ford's theater where abraham lincoln was shot 150 years ago. this is an interesting house that has a great history. even before abraham lincoln was assassinated here. this house was built in the early 1850s by german immigrants to america william peterson, and he used this house as a boarding house up to 10 or 12 people lived here at a time. and so this is

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