Executive order addressing fair housing could benefit Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Director of Housing and Community Development believes the president’s executive order is a step in the right direction.

Director Paul Young said housing problems are nothing new to Memphis but now is the time to change it.

“Every community could use affordable housing quite frankly because affordability is relative,” said Young. “It means you have units that people of all income brackets can afford.”

Young said one of the main issues in Memphis is providing fair housing across the city.

Young explains affordable housing is typically clumped together in one area.

“When you have concentrations of poverty, we definitely don’t want to concentrate property and have high-quality affordable housing alternatives all throughout our city,” said Young.

RELATED: Biden signs four executive actions focused on racial equity

President Biden’s order asks the Department of Housing and Urban Development to take a second look at fair housing policies and if they feel they are discriminatory, work to right the wrong.

“Biden’s order is a step in the right direction, but housing has been a challenging issue for many administrations so it’s not any one president’s fault,” said Young. “It’s an issue we’ve been dealing with as a country for many years.”

Young said the city is working on its own improvements with fair housing.

He said the city paired with the National Fair Housing Alliance to perform a six-month renters rights study.

“What we wanted to do was really think about how we can strengthen fair housing rules in our community,” said Young.

It’s an ongoing issue Young said is being discussed on the national and local level.

“It’s really important that the federal government looks at what laws had disproportionate impacts on our communities. As local municipalities, we look at the same thing and that’s what we are doing and I’m excited to know that they are doing the same thing,” said Young.

Young said another goal is to convince developers to factor in affordable housing units when they plan new projects for the city.