27 Clearinghouse Rev. 335 (1993-1994)
Housing Mobility and Life Opportunities

handle is hein.journals/clear27 and id is 335 raw text is: Housing Mobility
and Life Opportunities
by Florence Wagman Roisman and Hilary Botein*

M        any poor people of color in the United States
are isolated and segregated in neighborhoods
that are egregiously underserved by govern-
ment and private facilities. The social conditions associ-
ated with the isolation and segregation are devastating:
terrible housing, inadequate schools, dangerous condi-
tions, lack of employment opportunities, rampant dis-
ease, and high and early mortality.' The isolation and
segregation were set in place and long maintained by a
hostile, dominant white majority: by laws requiring seg-
regation, and by violence and pervasive public and pri-
vate arrangements enforcing it.2
This article discusses one effective way of redressing
segregation and isolation: housing mobility programs.
These programs have been used in several communities
to enable poor people of color to leave segregated, im-
poverished, underserved areas for predominantly white

neighborhoods with better facilities and resources. Hous-
ing mobility has been remarkably successful in enabling
people to improve their lives. Although mobility is not
the only remedy for separate and unequal neighborhoods,
it is crucially important.3 This article reviews the value
of housing mobility, the nature of existing housing mo-
bility programs, and ways in which advocates can partici-
pate in creating and implementing housing mobility
programs.4
I. The Value of Housing Mobility
he value of housing mobility is shown in a variety
of ways. Some individuals who have moved
speak about leaving a nightmare for quiet,
safe, attractive homes in well-served neighborhoods.
Now I enjoy going to school, I enjoy working, I enjoy

* Florence Wagman Roisman is a staff attorney with
the National Housing Law Project, 122 C St. NW, Suite
680, Washington, DC 20001-2109, (202) 783-5140.
Hilary Botein is a law student at Northeastern Law
School. The authors thank Alex Polikoff, Elizabeth K.
Julian, Michael M. Daniel, Karen V. Hill, Linda Blake,
Michael Collins, Joseph Feuerherd, Madeline Hoffman,
Marissa Manos, John Schrider, and Philip Tegeler.
They are grateful to Susan Mondoa for typing
assistance. The authors take full responsibility for all
errors in their article.
I See, e.g., DOUGLAS S. MASSEY & NANCY A. DENTON,
AMERICAN APARTHEID: SEGREGATION AND THE MAKING OF
THE UNDERCLASS (1993); Douglas S. Massey, American
Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass,
96 AMER. J. SOC. 329 (1990); DAVID T. ELLWOOD, POOR
SUPPORT: POVERTY IN THE AMERICAN FAMILY 189-215
(1988).
2 MASSEY & DENTON, supra note 1, at 17-59; A. Leon
Higginbotham, et al., De Jure Housing Segregation in the
United States and South Africa: The Difficult Pursuit for
Racial Justice, 1990 U. ILL. L. REV. 765 (1990); Elizabeth
Julian & Michael Daniel, Separate and Unequal-The Root
and Branch of Public Housing Segregation, 23
CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 666 (Oct. 1989); HERBERT SHAPIRO,

WHITE VIOLENCE AND BLACK RESPONSE: FROM
RECONSTRUCTION TO MONTGOMERY (1988). Contemporary
observers debate whether and to what extent the initial forced
segregation now is compounded by other factors, such as
continued external discrimination and segregation, economic
forces, or personal failures of isolated people. See also
MICHAEL B. KATZ, THE UNDESERVING POOR: FROM THE WAR
ON POVERTY TO THE WAR ON WELFARE (1989).
3 Professor John Calmore has been an eloquent advocate
for spatial equality. John 0. Calmore, Spatial Equality and
the Kerner Commission Report: A Back-to-the-Future Essay,
71 N.C. L. REV. 1801 (1993); John 0. Calmore, To Make
Wrong Right: The Necessary and Proper Aspirations of Fair
Housing, in THE STATE OF BLACK AMERICA 1989 77 (1989);
John 0. Calmore, Fair Housing vs. Fair Housing: The
Problems with Providing Housing Opportunities Through
Spatial Deconcentration, 14 CLEARINGHOUSE REV. 7 (May
1980).
4 The authors believe that this is the first published
collection of information about housing mobility programs
throughout the country, and hope to participate in developing
further information and analysis. CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW
readers should contact them regarding pertinent material and
ideas.

Clearinghouse Review n Special Issue 1993

335

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