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Getting Home: Transportation Equity and Access to Affordable Housing

Getting Home“Getting Home: Transportation Equity and Access to Affordable Housing,” is the third in a series of reports by The Leadership Conference Education Fund examining the key roles transportation and mobility play in the struggle for civil rights and equal opportunity. The reports highlight critical issues and make recommendations for policymakers as they draft a reauthorization of the nation’s surface transportation programs, which will allocate hundreds of billions of federal dollars for transportation projects that will have a profound impact on every person in our county. Transportation policies have a direct impact on the availability of and access to affordable housing. Transportation decisions often contribute to economic and racial segregation. When a segment of a metro area lacks public transportation or safe walking/biking alternatives, people who cannot afford automobiles or lack the ability to drive cannot live there—even if their housing costs are within their means. But our transportation policies have contributed to sprawling metropolitan areas organized around major roads and highways. Policies that prioritize highways and new suburban home ownership have created a landscape where truly affordable housing is difficult for many Americans to obtain.• Families with means and access to vehicles have flocked to new suburban housing developments while low-income families—predominantly minority—lacking transportation options or locked out of certain neighborhoods by discriminatory real estate practices have remained in the under-resourced urban core. • Homebuyers in search of affordable housing and renters often are pushed into far-flung areas with higher transportation costs, driving up the overall cost of living.