A regional challenge for affordable housing/discrimination in Wisconsin

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council has leveled disturbing charges against Waukesha County, arguing that the county has engaged in illegal housing discrimination in disbursing some federal funds to municipalities in the county and that race is an issue.

The county disputes the charges, but the complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, needs to be taken seriously. So does a lawsuit filed this week against New Berlin by the developer of a proposed low-income and senior housing project that resulted in a storm of protest in that community last summer, at least some of which was driven by racial fears.

In fact, the allegations need to be taken seriously by the region because they are indicative of a problem bigger than just Waukesha County. Consider: According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, Milwaukee County is 74.5% white. Waukesha County is 94.1% white; Ozaukee County is 95.6%; Washington County, 96.5%. Only Racine County is even close to Milwaukee, at 82.6% white.

That’s quite a disparity. And William R. Tisdale, president and chief executive of the fair housing council, makes a point when he argues that such disparity doesn’t happen by accident.

Read remainder of the editorial at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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