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HUD Clarifies Civil Rights Protections Against Housing Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and seven other agencies—including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, Treasury, and Transportation—are, for the first time, clarifying in writing that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination.

In addition to shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, religion is also a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, which HUD will continue to enforce. This latest announcement from HUD is another step of forward progress of the Biden Administration’s U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, released in May 2023.

“Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and any other form of hate have no place anywhere, including in the home,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “No one should be discriminated against because of their ancestry or ethnic characteristics or their faith or beliefs. Today’s announcement will further the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combating discrimination in all its forms and guide our partners on the ground to enforce this country’s legal protections for Americans against acts of hatred.”

HUD continues to contribute to the implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. In May, HUD issued a letter to approximately 200 federally funded housing programs on how to identify and counter antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of bias and discrimination in housing. In addition, HUD is hosting a listening session in October for young adults to focus on fair housing rights, specifically related to protections on the basis of religion and shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics.

“The fact sheet we are releasing today sends a strong message that discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics is illegal under the Civil Rights Act,” said Demetria McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “This announcement is in line with HUD’s continued commitment to combat housing discrimination in all forms. It informs those who call America home of their right to be treated equally regardless of their shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics–putting us one step closer to building a housing system that prioritizes fairness and equality.”

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) works diligently to enforce the Fair Housing Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For more information, see the White House press release on today’s announcement and HUD’s new fact sheet on Title VI.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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