May 1, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Aiwuyor | 202-898-1661 | Jaiwuyor@nationalfairhousing.org
Statement from the National Fair Housing Alliance on Fair Housing Act SCOTUS Decision: Bank of America vs. The City of Miami
We are pleased that the Supreme Court has once again reaffirmed bedrock principles of the Fair Housing Act in upholding that the law extends broad coverage to victims of housing discrimination. The Court made it very clear that it does not intend to break with previously established legal precedent. The Court wrote:
“This Court has repeatedly written that the FHA’s definition of person ‘aggrieved’ reflects a congressional intent to confer standing broadly. We have said that the definition of ‘person aggrieved’ in the original version of the FHA…’ showed ‘a congressional intention to define standing as broadly as is permitted by Article III of the Constitution.’ ”
Housing discrimination by banks and other lenders have harmful effects on entire communities. Cities like Miami play a tremendous role in ensuring that all of its communities are protected by the Fair Housing Act. Housing discrimination has a broad impact on the community, often harming those beyond the direct victims of discriminatory acts. In the foreclosure crisis, the targeting of predatory loans at communities of color harmed the entire city. This increased the number of vacancies and the need for related city services. The predatory loans also diminished property value and decreased property-tax revenue.
All of these negative effects create a further divided society where discrimination perpetuates patterns of segregation and reconstitutes barriers to financial stability, healthcare, safe neighborhoods, and quality education. Furthermore, housing discrimination harms a city’s financial position and impedes on that city’s ability to provide a quality standard of life for its residents. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has underscored the ability of local communities to bring actions to protect the right to fair housing.
Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. NFHA is the voice of fair housing and works to eliminate housing discrimination to ensure equal housing opportunity for people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.