Judge Orders Public Housing Desegregation

AP, Jan. 7

BALTIMORE—The city’s public housing should be desegregated by spreading its residents across the region, a federal judge ruled Thursday in a 10-year-old civil rights case that challenged a half-century of government policy.

Baltimore “should not be viewed as an island reservation for use as a container” for the region’s poor, U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis said.

The American Civil Liberties Union had sued the Baltimore Housing Authority and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1995, arguing that government policies had created “black ghettos” in Baltimore.

The judge concluded that the plaintiffs did not prove current discrimination on the part of city officials, or a failure by city officials to right past wrongs.

But he said HUD failed to do its duty to promote fair housing and failed to look for solutions beyond the city limits. Garbis said it remains to be seen whether HUD’s actions were intentionally discriminatory or a result of political pressure.

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