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Housing segregation is a defining feature of the American landscape. Scholars have thoroughly documented the government’s historic collusion in segregating people by race. But far from correcting its reprehensible past, the government continues to perpetuate housing segregation today. As if on autopilot, its spending and regulatory activities routinely reinforce housing segregation. Not only is this immoral and bad policy, it is against the law. The government has a statutory duty to conduct its business in a manner that reduces housing segregation. This duty arises from a unique civil rights directive passed by Congress over fifty years ago in the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The “affirmatively furthering fair housing” (“AFFH”) mandate imposes an overlooked and under-enforced obligation on every federal agency—not just HUD—to take affirmative steps to reduce segregation. This article explores new ground by looking beyond HUD to expose how agencies across the government sustain housing segregation, then proposes an administrative law framework to counteract the government’s segregative influence.

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Iowa Law Review

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