Prosperity Now’s Statement on HUD’s Proposed New Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Regulation
For Immediate Release Contact: Kristin Lawton, 202.207.0137
The proposed rule that HUD released on Tuesday is not a fair housing rule. It will not improve the implementation or enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. Rather than build on and work to improve the 2015 rule, which would have advanced fair housing, the Administration eliminates it and instead will undercut enforcement, public participation, accountability and access to housing.
Comprehensive fair housing enforcement is paramount if we are to address racial disparity in homeownership, to improve access to good schools and broaden economic opportunity. The HUD proposal will limit the housing choices available to families of color, which in turn will further exacerbate the racial wealth divide.
The proposal effectively eliminates the requirement that localities and public housing authorities analyze the barriers to fair housing in their communities. This has been an effective early step for jurisdictions and large housing providers to address housing inequities.
The proposal wrongly focuses on income rather than on federally protected classes, such as race, sex, religion and disability. Improving access to affordable housing is the fundamental mission of HUD, but housing discrimination cuts across income levels. Moreover, this administration has repeatedly proposed to eliminate or reduce affordable housing funding.
The proposal also mistakenly relies on the outcomes of fair housing litigation to gauge a community’s fair housing compliance. Tellingly, HUD is working to undercut the ability of victims of housing discrimination to bring fair housing actions by weakening the disparate impact approach to fair housing.
HUD should scrap the proposed rule and revisit the 2015 final rule. HUD should improve the 2015 rule’s assessment tools, restart technical assistance to localities and focus on the letter and the spirit of the Fair Housing Act, a spirit markedly absent form this proposal.
Prosperity Now believes that everyone deserves a chance to prosper. Since 1979, we have helped make it possible for millions of people, especially people of color and those of limited incomes, to achieve financial security, stability and, ultimately, prosperity. We offer a unique combination of scalable practical solutions, in-depth research and proven policy solutions, all aimed at building wealth for those who need it most.