The New Republic-
On October 11, 2009, when Isaac Dieudonne was two years old, his family moved into a new home in Miramar, Florida. As they began to unpack, young Isaac bounded out the front door in search of fun. The parents found him several minutes later, floating dead in the fetid pool of a foreclosed house.
Since the financial crisis began in 2008, approximately 5.7 million properties have completed the foreclosure process, and stories like this begin to answer the critical question of what happens to all those homes. While many are resold, too often they fall into disrepair, creating blight that drags down property values and turns communities into potential deathtraps, attracting not just mosquitoes and mold, but crime and tragedy.
According to expert reports, this neglect occurs disproportionately in communities of color, part of a disturbing pattern. While the Supreme Court has reaffirmed the ability to use the Fair Housing Act to challenge discriminatory effects in neighborhoods, the nation’s neighborhood layout looks more segregated than ever, exacerbating the racial wealth gap. There’s no point in having an anti-housing discrimination law if it isn’t vigorously employed to prevent a real societal division that drags down minority families. The Justice Department, free of uncertainty about the Fair Housing Act’s future, needs to work to realize the law’s intended purpose.