In April, we will celebrate Fair Housing Month and the 52nd anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, passed in 1968 to ensure that every American would have equal access to housing and be free from discrimination. Today it remains one of the most critical pieces of civil rights legislation for advancing racial and other forms of equality, and helps foster stronger and more inclusive communities, essential to our collective success and prosperity. Despite the country’s increasingly diverse population, discrimination and racial segregation in housing persists in rental, lending, sales, and insurance markets.
One of the tenets of the Fair Housing Act is that entities receiving federal funding must do its part to affirmatively further fair housing, that is, foster communities that are diverse and inclusive, eliminate systemic discrimination based on race and other factors, topple the barriers created by government-sponsored segregation, and ensure that residents of all communities have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive.
In 2015, the administration released an affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) rule that encompassed elements intended to create an effective fair housing planning process, centered on the concerns raised by community members and resulting in concrete strategies for tackling barriers to fair housing. It set the nation on a path toward dismantling the systemic discrimination and deeply entrenched segregation that harm us all.
The proposed rule would eliminate the suspended 2015 AFFH rule entirely, replacing it with a new rule that does not address segregation, conflates affordable housing with fair housing, and allows the status quo of discriminatory policies to continue. Here are just some of the differences between the 2015 and proposed rule:
This country has a long history of segregationist and discriminatory housing policies and we must reverse the effects of those policies. We cannot allow this proposed rule to go unchallenged. You can join the fight to preserve the ability of our communities to effectively tackle segregation and create diverse, inclusive communities by writing a unique comment letter. Those who are interested can find a template letter and more information here: www.fightforhousingjustice.org/affh-resources. Comments are due by COB Monday, March 16.