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Opening Acts: March 25, 2020

FHJC Opposes HUD’s Proposed AFH Rule

RULE WOULD ROLL BACK PROGRESS ON FAIR HOUSING

On January 14, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)released a proposed Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) rule that would dramatically weaken how HUD and local jurisdictions fulfill their statutory duty to affirmatively further fair housing under the federal Fair Housing Act.

On March 16, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) submitted public comments strongly opposing HUD’s proposed rule. 

Key arguments made by the FHJC include: 

  • HUD’s proposed rule is contrary to the mandate contained in the Fair Housing Act that requires HUD and recipients of federal funds to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH) in all housing and community development activities. 
  • HUD’s proposed rule abandons vital aspects of the more comprehensive AFH Rule adopted in 2015 by not requiring a data driven approach, extensive community engagement, and the development of a meaningful action plan with metrics and measurable goals to remove barriers to housing choice and reduce residential racial segregation. 
  • HUD’s proposed rule would harm fair housing organizations and fair housing enforcement by ironically withholding funds to a local fair housing group if their local community is found to be “low performing” in meeting their AFFH obligations. 
  • HUD’s proposed rule wrongly exempts public housing authorities from AFFH compliance. 

FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg further stated: “Our region suffers from a painful history of discrimination, segregation and concentrated poverty. If HUD does not hold states and local jurisdictions accountable to implement their legal duty to affirmatively further fair housing, this history will not be remedied; housing discrimination and residential segregation, along with the attendant inequalities will persist; and the promise of the Fair Housing Act will remain largely unfulfilled.”

The full text of the public comments can be read HERE.

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