Special to the Vanguard
Washington, DC – HUD announced on Thursday it will publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register to fulfill the promise of the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule aims to remedy the effects of the long history of discrimination in housing, will help to foster opportunity in communities across the country where every resident can thrive. In addition, this proposed rule meets President Biden’s call in his first days in office to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act, outlined in Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies.
This proposed rule implements the Fair Housing Act’s affirmatively furthering fair housing mandate, which directs the government to promote fair housing choice, eliminate disparities in housing, and foster inclusive communities. While building avenues for greater accountability, this proposed rule streamlines the required fair housing analysis for local communities, states, and public housing agencies and requires them to set ambitious goals to address fair housing issues facing their communities, among other landmark changes.
“This proposed rule is a major step towards fulfilling the law’s full promise and advancing our legal, ethical, and moral charge to provide equitable access to opportunity for all,” said Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
“Affirmatively furthering fair housing means more than merely steering clear of housing discrimination violations” said Demetria L. McCain, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Today, HUD is taking new, bold action to eliminate the historic patterns of segregation that continue to harm American families. This action will help make the purpose of the Fair Housing Act reality by making it easier for local communities to identify inequities and make concrete commitments to address them.” “
According to HUD, “This proposed rule, a significant step in addressing the country’s history of discriminatory housing policies and practices, responds to both President Biden’s directive, the Memorandum on Redressing Our Nation’s and the Federal Government’s History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies, to HUD and Secretary Fudge’s call to weave equity throughout HUD’s work.”
Among other things, “It would spur HUD program participants to take action in order to ensure members of protected classes have equitable access to affordable housing opportunities, which can be a crucial lifeline for underserved communities that have long been denied equal access to opportunity.”
Leading civil rights and housing policy organizations applauded HUD’s policy.
Commentary: Civil Rights Groups Applaud HUD’s Release of Critical Fair Housing Rule
Today’s action by U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia L. Fudge in releasing an updated Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) proposed rule is an important step toward creating more equitable and affordable housing opportunities and stronger, more viable neighborhoods.
Our organizations urged the Biden-Harris administration to prioritize restoring inclusive fair housing rules that were previously weakened or ignored, and that ensure everyone lives in healthy, well-resourced, vibrant communities free from discrimination. This administration committed on day one to address our request and today has taken another step toward fulfilling its promise to advance fair housing.
This year we commemorate 55 years of the Fair Housing Act. Yet in 2023, residential segregation, housing discrimination, and an affordable housing crisis remain at the core of inequality in the United States.
When Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it intended for HUD to take active steps to end housing discrimination, eliminate housing segregation and its ill effects, and dismantle systemic racism and inequality to ensure people could have safe and decent housing in vibrant communities.
However, a robust framework for enforcing these obligations was not put into place until 2015, finally giving local jurisdictions, public housing authorities, and community stakeholders the process and data needed to identify and redress local barriers to fair housing and equitable opportunity.
The Fair Housing Act’s AFFH mandate requires every entity — local governments, states, housing authorities, etc. — receiving federal funding for a housing or urban development purpose, to use those funds, as well as operate all of their programs, in a manner that affirmatively furthers fair housing opportunities.
When used appropriately, the Fair Housing Act’s AFFH provision can reduce racial and gender wealth and homeownership gaps; increase the supply of quality accessible and affordable housing; improve educational, health, environmental, and other outcomes; increase economic opportunities; and benefit thousands of communities and millions of people.
By addressing structural inequities, we can build a stronger economy, develop and support more affordable housing options, and maintain a check on inflation, as housing is the single largest expense for the average consumer.
Fair and equitable housing can transform society and create new promises for future generations. We can build a world in which your zip code does not determine your outcome in life.
We can foster a society in which every neighborhood is full of the opportunities and resources that people need in order to thrive.
We look forward to working with HUD and the entire administration to ensure the final AFFH rule is effective and beneficial to everyone in this nation, and we urge the administration to move forward swiftly with the rulemaking and implementation process.
The following organizations authored the statement:
American Civil Liberties Union
Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund
Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Consumer Federation of America
Habitat for Humanity International
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders
National Association of Affordable Housing Lenders
National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals
National Association of Real Estate Brokers Inc.
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development (National CAPACD)
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
National Community Reinvestment Coalition
National Community Stabilization Trust
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
National Council of State Housing Agencies
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Low Income Housing Coalition
Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC)