The U.S. Court of Appeal orders the Department of Housing and Urban Development to promote fair housing.
1970 (Dec 30)
The U.S. Court of Appeal for the third circuit ordered the Department of Housing and Urban Development to "affirmatively promote fair housing" in considering applications for support of housing projects. The case involved HUD mortgage insurance and rent supplements in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The court ruled that HUD had to determine, through public hearings or by other means, whether its projects would increase or maintain segregation. According to the court, HUD could not support such housing unless it was determined that the need for urban renewal or increased minority housing clearly outweighed "the disadvantages of increasing or perpetuating racial concentration." The court reasoned that after the passage of the 1964 and 1968 civil rights acts, HUD could no longer "remain blind to the very real effect that racial concentration has had in the development of urban blight." Edwin D. Wolf, executive director of the Philadelphia office of the lawyers committee for civil rights, called the ruling a landmark decision that could have an impact comparable to the Supreme Court's 1954 school desegregation decision.