The first FHEA Workshop was held on November 22, 2013 at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. The FHEA Workshop Presentation consisted of the following sections:

  • Overview (slides 1-8)
  • Fair Housing & Equity (slides 9-11)
  • Segregation & Integration (slides 12-27)
  • Access to Opportunities (slides 28-58)
    • Municipal Fiscal Health (slides 28-35)
    • Economic Health (slides 36-38)
    • Education (slides 39-43)
    • Housing (slides 44-52)
    • Health & the Environment (slides 53 – 58)

Key points given by David Troutt, professor of law and the founding director of the Rutgers Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity (CLiME), are provided below the slideshow.  After viewing the FHEA Workshop Presentation, we invite you to let us know what you think about the FHEA by completing our questionnaire!

Fair Housing & Equity (slides 9-11)
The commitment to fair housing has always involved ending racially discriminatory barriers to residential choice and promoting more racially balanced communities. Seeking more racially balanced communities has also revealed the need for more economically balanced communities.

Segregation & Integration (slides 12-27)
Unfortunately, New Jersey’s regions remain deeply segregated, as measured by dissimiliarity index comparisons with other SCI metros where we’re ranked sixth worst. (Our white to non-white lack of evenness is considered “high,” our Hispanic to white rate is among the highest in the nation and our black-white unevenness is also remarkably high). The story of racial concentration, separation, and exclusion is also told in the Together North Jersey (TNJ) region’s relatively high rates of racial and ethnic isolation. These stubborn racial maps have considerable implications for equity and public policy.

Our racial maps are not accidental. As an analysis of predicted racial settlement shows, income capacity, and fair housing access would expect that black and Latino populations would be spread among a great many more communities than they are. As other data show, the areas of racial concentration among minorities tend toward places of low opportunity compared to others. As we’ll see, this suggests that one cause of growing household and municipal resource inequality is a lack of spatial balance in the jobs, schools, infrastructure, and housing options available to North Jersey residents by race and income.

Many of the variables of growing inequality that public policy can impact are rooted in place and residency dynamics. (We acknowledge the range of possible indicators one might use to illuminate opportunity as it’s rooted in the dynamics of place and that tough choices had to be made. We also recognize how different things can look from different levels—blocks, neighborhoods, census tracts, regions, etc.). We hope to see how economic resources are distributed throughout various kinds of communities in our region. The unequal resources available to some places and not others tends to describe the relative access to opportunity that residents experience. Mapping many of those variables, we see a rough geography of opportunity. The units of relevant analysis are not just neighborhoods or census tracts. They are often municipalities spread out across metropolitan regions.

The relationship among municipalities is both competitive and interdependent. Regional members compete for tax base, wealthier residents, strong students, and attractive amenities. Members are interdependent in terms of job growth, infrastructure costs, labor markets, and social welfare expenditures. What the geography of metropolitan resources shows is that:

  • There are clear winners and losers among municipalities
  • There is a vast economic middle struggling to remain stable in spite of trends to the contrary; and,
  • A critical characteristic of the map is concentration (or lack of proportionality)–concentrated wealth, concentrated poverty, concentrated populations (e.g., racial and class homogeneity and isolation) and policies that do not sufficiently demand more equitable outcomes even when it is in our long-term interests to do so.

The TNJ FHEA analysis so far has led us to identify “Communities of Concern.” These are places that are increasingly representative of the region’s emerging profile, the new norm. They are disproportionately (i.e., equal to or exceeding the regional threshold in terms of median or mean) non-white and/or low-income, or have an above-average share of at least two of the following populations: elderly, disabled, LEP, carless, and female heads of household with children. The composite label “Communities of Concern” is meant to signal both racial and economic convergence as well as other key proxies for household vulnerability. As the population of people of color and low-income people have increased in the TNJ region since 1990, so have Communities of Concern–by 5%.

Access to Opportunities (slides 28-58)
The data show persistent inequality and a weakening middle.

  • Municipal Fiscal Health (slides 28-35)
    • Municipal fiscal health or fiscal capacity improves as median family income increases. When we focus on the connection between municipal fiscal health, race, and class concentration, we see that Communities of Concern lag well behind the TNJ threshold for either income or tax capacity.
    • Median family income rises in places with higher numbers of people with college degrees and better-than-average job growth. The TNJ regional threshold is $99,631 and 40% of all people in the region live in towns with median family incomes at or above the threshold. However, just 18% of people in the region’s Communities of Concern live in places that meet or exceed the regional threshold for median family income ($99.6K), i.e., high-opportunity places.
    • Between 1990 and 2010, job growth concentrated in areas low in minorities and low-income people. In fact, only 2/5 of people living in the region’s Communities if Concern saw private sector job growth during the past 20 years.
    • A comparison of Chatham Borough (Morris County) and Fairview Borough (Bergen County) shows the correspondence among indicators of fiscal health in Chatham’s case and instability in Fairview’s.

  • Economic Health (slides 36-38)
    • Continuing the comparison of the two towns, we see a connection between education attainment (among adults 25 years and older), higher wages, and work in finance, insurance, and real estate.
    • Low opportunity zones like Fairview (with higher family poverty and a significant Hispanic population) lag in residents’ educational achievement. In fact, as you can see in this chart, only 28% of the region’s population living in Communities of Concern live in places where people have above-average educational attainment. This means that nearly 3/4 of all people in Communities of Concern live in places where people have low educational attainment.

  • Education (slides 39-43)
    • This disparity in educational attainment by adults is mirrored by disparities in educational attainment among children

  • Housing (slides 44-53)
    • Affordability is usually associated with renting in more urbanized areas. This comparison of areas clearly shows that by the density of units per square mile.(Affordability is measured here by whether a unit is affordable to households earning 80% or less of HAMFI or HUD Area Median Family Income). You can see the close correlation between rental affordability, lower family incomes and school performance deficits.
    • However, the same relationships tend to hold when we’re talking about the affordability of units for homeownership. Areas with high student achievement and wealthier families simply have little or no affordable housing for sale. Affordable ownership and rental units are—not surprisingly—concentrated in high-minority, low-income communities. Communities of Concern are only slightly lower. All three have percentages well above the regional median. Rather than a fair share (as NJ requires), these charts show the disproportionate placement of affordable housing in areas with low indicators of opportunity.
    • Patterns that show where subsidized housing is located demonstrate that historically HUD policy has contributed to the imbalance of affordable housing options across the region. Whether we measure subsidies by sec. 8, sec. 236, public housing or LIHTC, these charts show overwhelming concentrations of subsidized housing in high-minority, low-income areas, and Communities of Concern.
    • Foreclosures can be a signifier of many things. As a housing indicator, they demonstrate a lack of financial stability and a slipping grasp on middle-class wealth.(They may also indicate areas vulnerable to predatory lending and other kinds of discrimination). This chart shows that while foreclosure rates have been very high across the region. Those living in the region’s Communities of Concern (as well as high minority or low-income areas) are more than twice as likely to live in places with above-average foreclosure rates (i.e., in places meeting or exceeding the regional threshold for foreclosures per sq. mile).

  • Health & the Environment (slides 53-58)
    • There are many measures we might use to get a picture of how place affects health outcomes, but we chose violent crimes and cancer risks. In 2011, the region averaged 2.8 violent crimes per 1,000 persons. Violent crime is far more prevalent in Communities of Concern than in non-Communities of Concern. It also concentrates in low-income areas. So does the risk of cancer.
    • We conclude with another Chatham/Fairview comparison, showing the overwhelming disparities in opportunity based on place.