As part of a Fair Housing Innovative Partnership – Education Outreach Initiative (FHIP-EOI) grant, the Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) created a series of first-person videos to understand how fair housing impacts all people. The idea was to interview individuals protected by fair housing laws, as well as employers, economists, developers, housing providers, planners and advocates.
These videos are available for sharing via social media, and provide first-hand, unscripted perspectives of real Idahoans and experts in several fields.
Most Americans understand the Fair Housing Act as landmark Civil Rights legislation prohibiting housing discrimination against members of protected classes and requiring reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities. Increasingly, research shows overall economic and social benefits made possible through more diverse communities, and economic opportunities created through housing choice—the right to live where we choose and can afford.
Economic opportunity depends on several factors made possible through fair housing choice, including access to essential community resources like employment, education, social services, recreation and transportation. At a very basic level, housing choice lets us build social capital—the network of trusted relationships and connections that can lead to better jobs, child care, and civic engagement.
As several interviewees point out, the social diversity made possible through fair housing is essential to a more diverse and resilient economy. Members of protected classes bring fresh perspective, ideas and energy that can boost productivity and efficiency; they become economic producers and entrepreneurs who create jobs. At the same time, they are consumers helping drive demand for more diverse products and services, which also creates additional employment opportunities. All of this generates economic energy and demand for taxable goods and services.
As author Jim Tankersley (The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True History of America’s Middle Class) sums it up,
…if you could give me one thing to do to supercharge the economy, I would say, end discrimination across the American economy. Discrimination is holding back our economy. It’s holding back our middle class.
Please take a few moments to explore these first-person videos to understand the importance fair housing through a different lens, and help spread the word by sharing them with others.
Spanish-language interviews | En Español