2/17/2023 in News & Media, Press Releases

NFHA Applauds the Biden-Harris Administration’s Renewed Commitment to Equity While Championing Urgent Action


February 17, 2023  

Contact: Izzy Woodruff, iwoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org  

Washington, D.C. — The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA)’s Executive Vice President, Nikitra Bailey, and Chief Tech Equity Officer, Michael Akinwumi, PhD, issued the following statement applauding President Biden’s Executive Order, Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.  

“The Biden-Harris Administration’s renewed commitment comes as the nation continues grappling with longstanding racial inequality stemming from discriminatory housing and lending policies that entrenched residential segregation and limited equitable opportunities for communities of color. Today’s Black-White homeownership gap is as wide as it was in 1968; appraisal bias continues to rob families of color of billions of dollars; unfair mortgage, credit, and tax assessments prevent mortgage-ready consumers from purchasing a home; rising housing costs remain the core driver of high inflation, preventing an equitable recovery from COVID-19; technology is perpetuating racial bias in unfair tenant screening, credit scoring, automated underwriting, and risk-based pricing; and police brutality and gun violence are costing precious lives. 

“Equitable policies NFHA championed and enacted since the start of the Administration have helped mitigate COVID-19’s devastating impact on hardest-hit communities of color. Innovative housing policies such as increased support for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowner Assistance Fund helped nearly 10 million struggling renters and over 160,000 homeowners remain housed as the pandemic eviscerated families, communities, and the economy. These inclusive programs helped reverse the decline in homeownership rates in communities of color. Between 2019 and 2021, the Black homeownership rate grew by 2 percent and the Latino homeownership rate grew by 2.5 percent. Promising actions, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s recently proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, are a major step toward helping local jurisdictions advance fair and affordable housing while ensuring everyone lives in healthy, well-resourced, vibrant communities free from discrimination.   

“Yet, there is so much more that must be done. 

“Threats to a fair and just society are much subtler today than they were 55 years ago when the Kerner Commission released its conclusive report and the Fair Housing Act was signed into law. Our nation’s leaders must enact bold strategies to advance equity and propel the nation forward. Yesterday’s action by the Biden-Harris Administration is a positive step and must be met with the reconstitution of the President’s Fair Housing Council. By reconstituting the Council and having the Vice President lead the federal government’s effort, fair housing and equitable opportunities can be embedded in all of the federal government’s housing-related programs. A whole-of-government strategy will be critical to providing the focus and oversight needed to create equity. We also call on Congress to join the Administration’s efforts and pass comprehensive legislation that centers fair and affordable housing to decrease housing’s outsized role in families’ personal budgets, thwart a potential recession, and create equity.

“The directive that federal agencies focus their civil rights authorities on emerging threats is very timely in the current era in which non-representative data and unsanctioned algorithms qualify as emerging threats to homeownership for underserved communities. 

“The annual public Equity Action Plan required of the federal agencies should include provisions for independent algorithm auditing and an effective state-of-the-art risk management framework built on the principles of the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s AI Bill of Rights as watertight lines of defense against emerging algorithmic threats facing underserved communities.” 


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.