A University of Texas at Arlington interdisciplinary project will assess fair housing issues across jurisdictional lines for the North Texas region. Twenty-two cities and housing authorities have contributed $734,430 to conduct the study, which can be broken into three parts: collection of data and fair housing analysis, community participation and development of goals and priorities.
From its inception, the Fair Housing Act has prohibited discrimination and mandated to "affirmatively furthered fair housing."
This rule calls for an integrated assessment and planning process that gives program participants more effective means to affirmatively further the purpose of the Fair Housing Act.
For the purpose of evaluating fair housing issues and contributing factors, the North Texas Housing Consortium has identified the city of Dallas as the lead entity for the submission of one Regional Assessment of Fair Housing or RAFH. The consortium also has identified The University of Texas at Arlington as the consultant to conduct and facilitate the submission of the Regional AFH.
Steve Mattingly, UTA associate professor at the Department of Civil Engineering, and Myriam Igoufe, doctoral student in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs, are leading the study with Nick Fang, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, Courtney Cronley, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, and Ivonne Audirac, an associate professor in CAPPA's Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture.
"What the project wants to do is to proactively to remove barriers to fair housing that cross these city and housing authority boundaries," Mattingly said. "We want to move to areas of opportunity for fair housing. The goal is to improve the delivery of housing services, to make them more effective and to ensure they're equitable."
The cities of Dallas, Plano, Garland, McKinney, Denton, Frisco and Irving are part of the study, as well as their respective housing authorities together with the housing authorities of Fort Worth, Dallas County, Greenville, Waxahachie, Cleburne, Ferris, Grandview, Ennis and Royce City.
"Fair housing knows no boundaries," Igoufe said. "This exploratory project will examine whether inequities and disparities exist. Once we find that out through the data analysis and community consultation, we will then take action."
The analysis phase seeks to identify housing and living patterns of integration and segregation, racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, disproportionate housing needs and disparities in access to opportunity for each entity's area of control. The analysis will rely on data provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-provided as well as local knowledge and data. UTA will update the HUD data to conduct the fair housing analysis.
UTA also will conduct public meetings and outreach activities designed to encourage and broaden meaningful public participation during the project. UTA has established a website, http://www.northtexasrha.com, where NAFH-related information can be found.
Already, the researchers have discovered that agencies' have a strong desire to work together to address fair housing across this extremely large region of North Texas.
"Seeking solutions from across the region seems appropriate because many of our clients do not provide housing assistance along jurisdictional boundaries," Mattingly said. "We want the study to present options for these entities to work together and use the tools identified during the study to establish effective strategies for achieving federal and local goals. We also want to offer advice on how these public-sector entities can work with the private sector to connect the affordable housing sector with livable opportunities in a fair, healthy and vibrant manner."
The interdisciplinary nature of this project complements research being conducted in three University Transportation Centers associated with and led by UTA. The research is just one example of how UTA contributes to sustainable urban communities, a theme of the university's Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.
About The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 "highest research activity" institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000, UTA is one of the largest institutions in the state of Texas. Guided by its Strategic Plan 2020 Bold Solutions|Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research and education within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report lists UTA as having the fifth highest undergraduate diversity index among national universities. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times' 2017 Best for Vets list.