3/28/2024 in Press Releases, Responsible AI/Tech Equity

National Fair Housing Alliance Issues Statement Following OMB AI Memo Updates

March 28, 2024
Contact: Janelle Brevard | jbrevard@nationalfairhousing.org

National Fair Housing Alliance Issues Statement Following OMB AI Memo Updates

Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memorandum for the heads of executive departments and agencies on advancing governance, innovation, and risk management for agency use of Artificial Intelligence. The memo seeks to reinforce the Biden Administration’s position that all federal agencies have a duty to ensure technology is designed, developed, deployed, and used in a way that advances innovation, mitigates discrimination, and protects the American people.

Specifically, OMB’s updated draft memorandum:

  1. Requires federal agencies to improve public transparency in their use of AI;
  2. Mitigates the risks of algorithmic discrimination;
  3. Strengthens AI governance protocols by designating Chief AI Officers who will, among other actions, coordinate the use of AI across federal agencies;
  4. Improves risk management practices by requiring federal agencies to document how AI is better suited to accomplish certain goals as compared to other alternatives;
  5. Adds recommendations for managing risks in federal AI procurement to address concerns over technologies like facial recognition systems;
  6. Adds a new requirement that federal agencies consult with diverse voices and that their AI governance boards engage with civic society;
  7. Clarifies where and how federal agencies should engage with federal workers and their labor unions; and
  8. Supports efforts to grow the AI workforce.

“The National Fair Housing Alliance acknowledges and appreciates OMB’s efforts that incorporate  some of the recommendations we put forth in our comments to the White House on this important guidance. We are particularly pleased with components of OMB’s policy that emphasize the importance of transparency, accountability, and inclusivity in the deployment and management of AI technologies across federal agencies,” said Michael Akinwumi, Chief Responsible AI Officer at the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA). “It is encouraging to see the alignment with several of NFHA’s recommendations, particularly those advocating for an AI governance framework that conscientiously incorporates civil rights principles and ensures no community is left behind. These steps align with NFHA’s long-standing advocacy for equitable and transparent AI systems that uphold the rights and safety of all Americans, especially in critical areas such as housing and lending.”

“OMB’s mandate for concrete safeguards by December 1, 2024, for AI applications impacting Americans’ rights or safety is a significant move to adopt important accountability measures including rigorous assessment, testing, and monitoring of AI’s impacts, and a commitment to mitigating the risks of algorithmic discrimination. The provision for public transparency through the release of annual inventories of AI use cases and the requirement for human oversight in critical decision-making processes are steps in the right direction,” said Snigdha Sharma, NFHA’s AI Policy Researcher.   

The memo also parallels NFHA’s call for making AI systems and their governance structures understandable to all people, as well as ensuring federal agencies have comprehensive engagement with diverse voices as AI tools are developed and deployed. NFHA encourages OMB to continue its vital work to establish necessary protocols for AI. One notable area that must be addressed is the handling of adverse AI impacts and providing remedies for affected individuals. For example, NFHA has advocated for a robust, three-tiered accountability approach.

“NFHA’s crucial points for regular policy reviews to adapt to the rapidly evolving AI landscape require more pronounced emphasis to ensure the continuous relevance and efficacy of AI governance policies,” added Michael Akinwumi. “OMB’s recommendations mark a step forward toward responsible AI governance. We recognize there remains a significant journey ahead to achieve a more comprehensive AI policy framework and we look forward to our continued work with the White House and other stakeholders to refine and implement AI governance standards and policies that uphold fairness and justice for every community.”


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. As the trade association for over 170 fair housing and justice-centered organizations and individuals throughout the U.S. and its territories, NFHA works to dismantle longstanding barriers to equity and build diverse, inclusive, well-resourced communities.