Civil Rights, Housing, and Community Development Organizations Urge HUD to Protect Fair Housing
On January 5, 2018, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and 79 civil rights, faith-based, affordable housing, and other organizations issued a statement to the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in strong opposition to HUD’s sudden and short-sighted decision to effectively suspend the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation.
Nearly 50 years ago, Congress adopted the Fair Housing Act, landmark legislation necessary to end discrimination in housing and eliminate the barriers created by segregation.
The AFFH regulation-designed with considerable public input-was added in 2015 and was considered a critical and overdue step in carrying out Congress’s intent. It gave jurisdictions a road map and tools for compliance and included measures for accountability.
Without warning, HUD has decided effectively to suspend the regulation. The suspension of the regulation leaves local jurisdictions confused, gives local residents less voice in important decisions about their communities, and reinstates an approach to fair housing that the Government Accountability Office found to be ineffective and poorly administered.
“The administration’s abrupt decision to effectively suspend this critical regulation is misguided,” says Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “The federal government, states, and local communities have been required by law since 1968 to work to undo the segregated communities that federal housing policy created in the first place. Suspending the tools that help communities meet that obligation, without any input from key stakeholders, is a step in the wrong direction.”
HUD’s decision is a serious loss for fair housing and puts the promise of making every neighborhood a community of opportunity further out of reach. NLIHC and its partners call on HUD to reverse its decision, withdraw this notice, and move ahead with implementation and enforcement of this important fair housing rule. And they call on Congress to provide policy and budgetary oversight of HUD to ensure it is delivering on the promise of fair and equitable housing.
“Americans strongly believe that a zip code should not determine a child’s future and that everyone – regardless of their race or national origin, the language they speak, or whether they have children or have a disability – should have access to the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Shanna L. Smith, president and CEO for the National Fair Housing Alliance. “But we are falling short of achieving that goal. Actions taken over many years by HUD, other government agencies and the private sector have left us more segregated than we were 100 years ago. That has led to concentrated poverty and weaker communities and undermines our prosperity. We need HUD to enforce this important rule, not suspend it.”