On February 15, 1974, Education/Instruccion published its second report in a series entitled “Fair Housing At Its Worst.” These reports investigated housing discrimination in Hartford by analyzing Connecticut’s violations of Title VIII of the 1968 Civil Rights Act. This report in particular discusses the ways in which real estate organizations verbally committed themselves to open housing practices, but then failed to fulfill their promises.
Education/Instruccion writes that although the 1968 Civil Rights Act had good intentions, “equal opportunity postponed is equal opportunity denied” (Education/Instruccion 16). For example, the US Department of Justice hired only 25 lawyers to address the entire nation’s legal issues regarding housing discrimination, leaving the Department extremely understaffed (16).
The report focuses on three major real estate organizations: The National Association of Realtors, Connecticut Real Estate Commission, and The Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. At the time, The National Association of Realtor’s marketing tagline was “America is talking and we’re listening” (18). However, despite this promising catchphrase, the Association failed to respond to Education/Instruccion when asked how they were meeting affirmative action requirements (19).
Education/Instruccion’s report also discusses the Connecticut Real Estate Commission, an organization that issues licenses to real estate brokers and salesmen. At the time, all of the Commissioners were white, male, and English-speaking (22). The Commission’s written regulations required salesmen to utilize minority groups and avoid any plans that might result in “discriminatory practices,” yet none of their education courses included any information about residential and racial patterns (21-22).
The report also points to the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) as another contributing factor toward housing barriers in Hartford. The CHFA’s job is to make financing a home more affordable for low-income buyers. However, Education/Instruccion wrote that the CHFA sees state requirements for opening housing as “nonchalant” regulations. At the time, none of the private sector CHFA members were black or Spanish-American, and not one employee was assigned to fulfill equal opportunity or affirmative action tasks (26).
1. Kramer, Eward G. “Promises, Promises: A New Day for Open Housing.” NYLF21 (1975): 537.
I found this source on Google Scholar by searching “Hartford open housing” and limiting my search results to items released between 1970-1980.
2. Peel, Norman D. “Racial Discrimination in Public Housing Site Selection.” Stanford Law Review. 23.1 (1970): 63-147. Print.
I found this source on JSTOR by searching “Connecticut Housing Finance Authority” and limiting my search results to items released between 1970-1980.
3. The Status of Equal Housing Opportunity: A Report of the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Hartford: The Commission, 1978. Print.
I found this source on Trincoll.WorldCat.org by searching “Connecticut housing discrimination” and limiting my search results to items released between 1965-1980.
- Do you think real estate companies and organizations can successfully promote affirmative action and open housing policies if their own employees are predominantly, or all, white?
- Education/Instruccion writes that it is often real estate companies’ lack of action that creates housing barriers. What do you believe is more detrimental toward open housing: active attempts to build barriers or total lack of initiative to tear them down?