Fair Housing Policy Initiatives

The mission of the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), a nonprofit civil rights organization, is to eliminate housing discrimination; promote policies and programs that foster more open, accessible, and inclusive communities; and strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws in the New York City region.

Policy Goals:

  • EXPAND HOUSING CHOICE: Work to ensure that all people, including populations whose housing choices have historically been restricted or are currently limited, are better able to access and enjoy the full range of housing opportunities and communities that exist in the region. Place matters. Expanding housing choice can increase access to opportunities, reduce inequalities, and enable people to enjoy the social, professional, and economic benefits of integrated living.
  • AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHER FAIR HOUSING TO CREATE MORE OPEN, ACCESSIBLE, AND INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES: Reduce residential racial segregation, promote equitable development including in communities that have been historically disinvested or continue to be deprived of resources, amenities, benefits, and/or services, and foster the creation of more open, accessible, and inclusive communities. Residential segregation, concentrated poverty, and housing discrimination contributes to increased homelessness, fuels gentrification and displacement, and nourishes a host of other harmful social, educational, and economic inequalities. Efforts to affirmatively further fair housing should be aimed at dismantling barriers to housing choice, promoting residential integration, and repairing the harm that has been and continues to be inflicted on people and communities of color.
  • STRENGTHEN FAIR HOUSING ENFORCEMENT: Ensure that populations facing housing discrimination are adequately protected and that fair housing laws are vigorously enforced. The current passive, largely complaint-responsive, and under-resourced approach to government enforcement fails to document subtle and systemic forms of housing discrimination and leaves some of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations unprotected. A more pro-active, systemic, and well-resourced enforcement approach, with testing as the centerpiece, can more effectively document and eliminate discriminatory housing practices and achieve greater compliance with fair housing laws.

How does the FHJC work to achieve these goals? Read the FHJC’ s full 2020 – 2021 Public Policy Priorities to learn more, or read a brief summary.

Examples of Policy Work

Below are examples of some of the ways FHJC has been working to advance these policy priorities:

  • The FHJC and Enterprise Community Partners collaborated to convene a Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable to explore housing issues across the region and find policy areas of common concern. Click here to learn more about the work of the Roundtable. Click here to download the Roundtable’s policy agenda, “Closing the Divide: Creating Equitable, Inclusive and Affordable Communities.”
  • The FHJC is a founding member of the #BanIncomeBiasNY Coalition, which is working to amend the State’s Human Rights law to expand the protected classes to include lawful source of income. Click here to access the Coalition’s Source of Income Fact Sheet. Click here to read the Coalition’s Letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo.
  • The FHJC is a member of the Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation (ASID), whose mission is to advocate for racial and socioeconomic New York City city-wide school desegregation and integration. Click here to read ASID’s Policy Agenda. Click here to read the FHJC’s public testimony on “Diversity in New York City Schools,” presented by FHJC’s former Policy Coordinator Chanera Pierce to the NYC Council’s Education Committee on December 7, 2017. You can also learn more about ASID by visiting https://www.nycasid.com/.
  • The FHJC advocated for, and is supporting, New York City’s efforts to push forward with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) process. Click here to read the FHJC’s public testimony to the NYC Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, presented by FHJC’s former Policy Coordinator Chanera Pierce on April 10, 2018.
  • The FHJC has submitted comments in response Notices of Proposed Rulemaking from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s August 16, 2018, Federal Register Notice, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements.” Read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s June 20, 2018 Federal Register Notice, “Reconsideration of HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard.” Also read the FHJC’s comments in response to HUD’s May 23, 2018 Federal Register Notice, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of the Assessment Tool for Local Governments.”
  • The FHJC advocated at the city-level for a cooperative disclosure law, which would require co-ops to identify and disclose, in a timely manner, the specific reason or reasons for rejecting an applicant. Click here to read the FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg’s public testimony on this law from November 8, 2017.
  • The FHJC has provided public comment, both as an individual organization and as part of a larger network of fair housing groups, on the city- and state-wide Qualified Allocation Plans (QAPs). Click here to read the FHJC’s comments to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). Click here to read the New York State Fair Housing Network’s comments on the two of the State’s QAP plans to New York State’s Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).