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Quintin Johnstone Prize Paper in Real Property Law. Established by the CATIC Foundation. ( A. Kapczynski, R. Ellickson, C. Priest) (to the student in his second or third year at the law school who has demonstrated excellence in the area of real property law)s)


The nation’s largest housing assistance program, the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8) annually provides housing vouchers to over 2 million eligible households for use in the private rental market.[1] While Congress intended for the program to “aid low-income families in obtaining a decent place to live and…promote economically mixed housing,”[2]in its almost forty year tenure, Section 8 has largely failed to improve locational outcomes or increase integration.[3] Voucher recipients remain concentrated in moderate to high poverty neighborhoods with predominantly minority populations.[4] This geographic distribution of vouchers perpetuates segregation, exacerbates the problems of poverty (joblessness, crime, delinquency, broken families, low educational attainment, etc.), and leads to poor individual outcomes.[5] It also contravenes the Section 8 program’s stated goal of improving locational outcomes,[6] the Fair Housing Act’s mandate to affirmatively further fair housing in the administration of all federal housing programs,[7] and finally the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on even facially neutral housing practices that perpetuate segregation.[8]

[1]Xavier de Souza Briggs, Susan J. Popkin & John Goering, Moving to Opportunity: The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty 42 (2010).

[2]United States Housing Act of 1937, 42 U.S.C. § 1437f(a) (2006).

[3]Alex F. Schwartz, Housing Policy in the United States 175 (2006).

[4] Judith D. Feins & Rhiannon Patterson, Geographic Mobility in the Housing Choice Voucher Program, 8.2 Cityscape 21, 22 (2005).

[5] See infra Section I.A(3).

[6]Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, Pub. L. No. 93-383, § 101(c)(6), 88 Stat. 633 (codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. § 5301(c)(6) (2006)).

[7]Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3608(e)(5) (2006).

[8]Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604 (2006) (as interpreted at Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program – Demonstration Project of Small Area Fair Market Rents in Certain Metropolitan Areas, Discussion of Comments, and Request for Participants, 76 Fed. Reg. 22122, 22124 (Apr. 20, 2011)).

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