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HUD Looks to Improve on Fair Housing Act

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) intends to publish a rule change in the Federal Register which ultimately aims to remedy the effects of the long history of discrimination in housing as part of the Fair Housing Act of 1968. 

The rule change “fulfills the promise” of the Fair Housing Act and will also help foster opportunities in communities across the country so every resident can thrive. 

This rule comes as a result of a memo signed by President Biden during his first few days in office to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act. It directs the government to promote fair housing choices, eliminate disparities in housing, and foster inclusive communities. It also will also hold local communities, states, and public housing agencies accountable for setting ambitious goals to address fair housing issues facing their communities. 

“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.” 

Following the announcement by the HUD, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, the top democrat on the House Financial Services Committee commented:  

“After years of targeted efforts to sabotage our nation’s Fair Housing Act, wage war on the civil rights of our communities, and stoke racial fear across the country, I applaud the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under Secretary Marcia Fudge and the Biden Administration for the release of the long-awaited proposed rule to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). Under the AFFH mandate of the Fair Housing Act, federal agencies are required to take proactive steps to eliminate unequal living patterns across the country and help remedy decades of both government-sponsored and private residential segregation and inequality. With this proposed rule, I am confident that we as a nation will finally be able to carry out this mandate effectively and successfully, while creating solutions to housing issues that affect people of color, families with children, people with disabilities, immigrants, and other groups of protected classes. 

“I am especially pleased to see that this latest proposal will make a number of key improvements to the 2015 rule. This includes a requirement to ensure all HUD grantees, including States and public housing agencies, can immediately begin engaging in more transparent and streamlined fair housing planning that is informed by both federal and local data; stronger community engagement requirements; annual reporting guidelines to help communities assess their efforts to advance fair housing goals; and a complaint and compliance process to ensure grantees are abiding by their AFFH obligations. Ultimately, this proposed rule will go a long way in redressing the harm caused by the previous administration and bring us steps closer to ensuring that every family has access to fair and affordable housing in the communities of their choice. 

HUD is accepting public comment on the proposed rule. 

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle Horst
Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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