Fair Housing and Community Empowerment: Where the Roof Meets Redemption
Georgetown Journal on Fighting Poverty, Vol. IV, Number 1 (1996)
90 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2016
Date Written: 1996
This article tells the story of the struggle of the historic African-American community of Cocoa, Florida, to survive in the face of a fifty-year history of discriminatory zoning and land use controls that had been adopted by the City and Redevelopment Agency. To challenge the City's threatened destruction of her neighborhood, Beatrice Houston stepped into the shoes of community organizer and led her neighbors in a series of three formal proceedings. The litigation, generically referred to as Houston v. City of Cocoa, was formally conducted in state and federal judicial and administrative arenas and was one of the first in the United States to marry civil rights and environmental claims. The joinder of litigation approaches with grassroots community activism drew into the community new power and resources, including housing rehabilitation and a measure of environmental justice.
Keywords: Fair Housing, Cocoa Beach, zoning ordinance, Civil Rights, African-American, municipal destruction, community, fight, land, Sanford, Houston v. City of Cocoa, Save our Neighborhood, community organizer, neighborhood
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