“Dear God! Must we not live? And when a whole city of white folk led and helped by banks, Chambers of Commerce, mortgage companies and ‘realtors’ are combing the earth for every bit of residential property for whites, where in the name of God are we to live and live decently if not by these same whites?”
– W. E. B. Dubois
Lack of affordable housing — and housing discrimination — is a worldwide problem…From Hamburg to Seattle, this is an issue that challenges even the best of communities. People who have lived in “inner-city” neighborhoods for generations are being displaced by young professionals, leaving them a long distance from where the good jobs are, with access to public transportation and essential services not always a practical option.
This is nothing new, of course. Economics and race have long been at the center of the quest for affordable housing and continues to play a major role in housing discrimination.
Several years ago I was fortunate to interview the author Kevin Boyle, winner of the National Book Award for his book Arc of Justice, which told the story of an African American doctor named Ossian Sweet who attempted to move his family into an all-white, 1925 Detroit neighborhood. The story is