National Fair Housing Alliance Applauds the Biden Administration for Advancing Housing Equity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2021

Media Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | IWoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org

National Fair Housing Alliance Applauds the Biden Administration for Advancing Housing Equity

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday was the deadline for submitting comments in response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s interim final rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH). Debby Goldberg, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)’s Vice President of Housing Policy, issued the following statement:

“HUD’s interim final rule will begin to reverse the Trump Administration’s devastating rollback of the Fair Housing Act’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) provision, a critical fair housing protection that has been on the books for more than 50 years. 

“By taking this first step toward reinstating the 2015 AFFH regulation, the Biden Administration is putting our country back on track to ending housing discrimination, dismantling housing segregation, and tackling systemic racism, thereby expanding access to opportunity as the Fair Housing Act intended. 

“Where you live matters because place is inextricably linked to opportunity. For too many people, their Zip code determines their chance of graduating from high school, attending college, being arrested, becoming a homeowner, dying from COVID-19, net worth, credit score, and how long they will live. The interim rule will put local jurisdictions on notice that they must take their AFFH obligations seriously. It will give them clearer direction about the actions they must take to identify, overcome, and redress local barriers to fair housing. 

“While this is an important first step, we urge HUD to make this interim rule even stronger by restoring the full scope of the rule’s purpose as it was described in 2015, which reflects the breadth of what it means to affirmatively further fair housing. HUD should also reinstate the 2015 certification standard that made it clear that not only must jurisdictions take meaningful actions to affirmatively further fair housing, they must not take any action that is materially inconsistent with that obligation. Finally, HUD must require jurisdictions to take immediate steps to ensure that their fair housing plans are up to date.  These plans are critical for guiding the way jurisdictions spend their housing and community development funds, including the billions of dollars that Congress has already allocated for COVID-19 recovery and will likely allocate for infrastructure. Bringing these plans current cannot wait for the next round of rulemaking.

“We look forward to working with HUD in the months ahead to streamline its regulatory framework and focus more on effective goals and strategies. We encourage HUD to maintain its commitment to training and technical assistance, issue guidance to grantees about best practices in fair housing planning, and establish a more robust standard of review for fair housing plans and performance against those plans.

“We are eager to continue working with HUD to restore AFFH to eliminate barriers to fair housing and ensure our country is a place of opportunity for all.”

Click here to read comments submitted by NFHA and 14 other national civil rights organizations.

Click here to read comments submitted by 75 local fair housing and community based organizations.

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The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is the country’s only national civil rights organization dedicated solely to eliminating all forms of housing and lending discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for all people. Through its homeownership, credit access, tech equity, education, member services, public policy, community development, and enforcement initiatives, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.

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