Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Cities may sue banks for injuries to their tax base caused by unlawful conduct against homeowners, according to the Supreme Court in a May 1st decision that was closely watched by fair housing advocates.  An unusual split among the justices produced the 5-4 opinion in Bank of America v. City of Miami.  The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) ruling demonstrates that the aggregation of direct harms can produce broader consequences that may be actionable by indirect victims.

If the nation’s capital were free of its stark racial inequities, it could be a more prosperous and competitive city—one where everyone could reach their full potential and build better lives for themselves and their families.
As a whole, Hispanics are disproportionately concentrated in the lowest-opportunity neighborhoods in U.S. metro areas. However, reflecting this ethnic group's diversity, there is great variation by national origin in their distribution across different levels of neighborhood opportunity. Explore Hispanic diversity in terms of access to neighborhoods of opportunity for two dozen Hispanic-origin subgroups across the 100 largest metro areas with new indicators and visualizations by diversitydatakids.org.
Low-income families who use housing subsidies to move from struggling to thriving communities represent perhaps the country’s best shot at breaking intergenerational poverty. Landmark research from Harvard University last year showed that children from poor families who make the transition at a young age are more likely to go to college, less likely to become single parents, and earn more money than those who remain behind.
The rapid growth of the nation’s poor population during the 2000s also coincided with significant shifts in the geography of American poverty. Poverty spread beyond its historic urban and rural locales, rising rapidly in smaller metropolitan areas and making the nation’s suburbs home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country. Yet, even as poverty spread to touch more people and places, it became more concentrated in distressed and disadvantaged areas.
Residents from Van Pelt Road, Shepherds Road and Weavers Lane crowded the committee chambers to standing room only, protesting the anticipated lease of the Holly Thorn House at 143 Readington Road to WayPointe,” a premier residential treatment and transition program designed for men ages 18-26 who are experiencing challenges with becoming self-sufficient and finding their purpose while struggling with mental illness or co-occurring disorders,” according to the WayPointe website.
2014-2015 Equity + Opportunity Studies Fellow, Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity: Municipal court cases account for the bulk of all legal filings and are often the only interaction that many people have with the judicial system, yet there is a significant lack of research on the impact of municipal courts on our daily lives. The municipal court experience is often the formative factor in developing an individual’s perception of the judicial system. Quite often, our poorest residents have to shoulder the burden of frequenting the most ineffective and busiest municipal courts in the state. Part I of the paper provides an introduction to the municipal court system in New Jersey and the role that they play in regulating the daily lives of New Jersey residents. Part II is an examination of two neighboring municipal courts. Part III consists of an analysis of how the judiciary defines the role of municipal courts in society. Part IV is an evaluation of current judicial reforms and whether these reforms are tailored to address the problems which plague municipal courts. This paper will conclude with recommendations for municipal court reform.
2014-2015 Equity + Opportunity Studies Fellow, Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity (CLiME): This paper examines how suburban redevelopment functions to perpetuate inequality at the individual, municipal, and metropolitan levels. This paper first examines the role of homeownership in the access to opportunities in the United States, and then examines the relationship between exclusion and inequality. I specifically examine two types of redevelopment: 1) redevelopment initiated by city council action, and 2) single-lot homeowner redevelopment. I conclude with some of the implications of this trend of suburban redevelopment on segregation, the provision of public goods, and the continuation of structural inequality at various levels.
ABSTRACT: Housing policy can play an important role in improving or impeding the economic well-being of low-income households. Through this paper, we aim to better equip researchers, policymakers, and practitioners for conversations about the links between housing policy and economic mobility. The first half of this paper clarifies common definitions and measurements of inequality and mobility. Adopting the lens of economic mobility for examining how housing policies can address challenges of inequality in society today, the second half of the paper looks at five categories of housing policy levers that affect economic mobility: tax policy, block grants, rental assistance, fair housing, and homeownership programs.
We are witnessing a nationwide return of concentrated poverty that is racial in nature. This report finds that high-poverty ghettos and barrios are the inevitable and predictable consequences of deliberate policy choices.

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