FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 7, 2020
Contact: Izzy Woodruff | 202-898-1661 | IWoodruff@nationalfairhousing.org
NFHA Statement Calling on HUD to Uphold the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulation and Rescind Its New Rule
The final rule published in the Federal Register today is a gross contradiction of the purpose of the Fair Housing Act and eliminates the best tool available to help localities address systemic discrimination.
Washington, D.C. — In a monumental setback for civil rights, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today published its new Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice rule in the Federal Register. The rule will take effect in 30 days. HUD employed stealth and questionable tactics to adopt this as a final rule, completely bypassing the standard public notice and comment period. This new rule, which replaces the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation, effectively removes all oversight by HUD and eliminates any meaningful requirement for jurisdictions to show they are addressing racial and other disparities. This blatant rollback of a long-standing and fundamental civil right comes at a time when our nation faces a triple pandemic — the COVID-19 health crisis, the ensuing economic crisis, and the crisis of racism that has plagued us for centuries.
The President has said he wanted to eliminate the 2015 rule to “save the suburban dream.” Instead, this move will harm our communities — suburban, urban, and rural — by eliminating the tools they need to create stronger, healthier, and more diverse neighborhoods and the obligation to work actively toward that goal in order to receive federal housing funds. Simply put, this new rule is a travesty and an affront to the millions of Americans now protesting discriminatory practices, lack of enforcement of civil and human rights laws, systemic racism, segregation, and other structural barriers that act as roadblocks to advancement for people of color and other marginalized groups. The new rule will take this country backwards by perpetuating segregation and further entrenching systemic racism and structural inequality. It will also increase housing instability, which is particularly harmful now as the nation battles a devastating public health crisis that has hit under-resourced communities of color the hardest.
When Congress passed the Fair Housing Act in 1968, it intended for HUD to take active steps to end housing discrimination, dismantle housing segregation, and tackle systemic racism to expand access to opportunity for everyone. The 2015 regulation was put in place to implement this important mandate by giving local jurisdictions and community stakeholders the process and data needed to identify and redress local barriers to fair housing. The Trump administration’s new rule does none of that. Instead, it adopts a new definition of fair housing that blatantly ignores issues of residential segregation and structural racism that the Fair Housing Act seeks to address; sets an embarrassingly low bar for what it means to “affirmatively further” fair housing; drastically lowers record keeping requirements for jurisdictions; strips HUD of any monitoring or oversight responsibility for jurisdictions’ AFFH activities; and removes any reference to the Assessment of Fair Housing, a plan that was required under the 2015 regulation.
AFFH is designed to support thriving, diverse communities, and it benefits us all; eliminating it will hinder progress that could help strengthen the fabric of our nation and make this a land of opportunity for everyone. That’s why we’re calling on the Trump administration to rescind its new rule now and reinstate the 2015 AFFH regulation.
About The National Fair Housing Alliance
Founded in 1988, NFHA is a consortium of more than 200 private, nonprofit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NFHA works to eliminate housing discrimination and ensure equal housing opportunity for all people through leadership, education, outreach, membership services, public policy initiatives, community development, advocacy, and enforcement.