The fundamental demographic divide in McKinney came to light in The Inclusive Communities Project., Inc., v. City of McKinney, Texas, which is cousin to the fair-housing case now before the Supreme Court. In 2009, the Inclusive Communities Project—a Dallas nonprofit organization that works to expand lower-income housing access in higher-income communities—sued McKinney over what the group alleged were exclusionary-zoning practices that violated the Fair Housing Act. McKinney’s housing authority had refused to cooperate with the project’s efforts to build Section 8 housing in predominantly white, higher-income, west McKinney. The city and the nonprofit settled the case out of court.
In 2008, the Inclusive Communities Project brought a separate but related suit against the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. That case—which was heard by the Supreme Court in January—argued that the state had violated the Fair Housing Act in its handling of low-income housing tax credits program (known as LIHTC). In Dallas, the state had disproportionately allocated these credits within minority areas of the city, the organization argued.
The US. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit concurred: Even if the state did not administer the program in an intentionally racially discriminatory manner, the practice seen in Dallas has had a disparate impact on minorities. Now it’s for the Supreme Court to decide whether disparate-impact claims apply to the Fair Housing Act.
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