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HUD's Release of Final Fair Housing Rules Is a Major Step Forward for Integration and Civil Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michelle Nicolet, Marketing Director
312.368.2675, mnicolet@povertylaw.org

Today, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro announced the release of the final rulemaking on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a central mandate of the Fair Housing Act for recipients of certain types of federal housing and community development funds. Issued nearly two years after the release of the initial proposed rule, the final rule provides a necessary structure so that state and local governments and public housing authorities who receive these funds make fair housing, integration, and the removal of other impediments to fair housing choice, a central priority.  The Shriver Center’s Housing Justice unit advocates for affordable housing opportunities for low-income people and frequently reminds local governments and public housing authorities of their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing, especially in the context of policies or plans that could result in a potential loss of affordable housing in integrated communities.

Under the final rule, state and local governments and public housing authorities who receive housing and community development funds will have to more consistently scrutinize their housing practices for civil rights impediments and will have to both report those findings and take steps to overcome them. HUD will provide these jurisdictions and housing authorities with guidance, data (on patterns of racial segregation, for example), and tools for how to assess fair housing in their area. HUD can withhold funds from jurisdictions whose actions are materially inconsistent with the duty to affirmatively further fair housing.  

This final rule comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, where the Court upheld another part of the Fair Housing Act, the disparate impact theory, which is intended to root out discrimination in housing, increase fair housing opportunities for protected classes, and decrease segregation in cases where a facially neutral policy has an adverse discriminatory impact on protected classes.

“The Affirmatively Furthering Rule strikes a careful balance between providing better guidance to jurisdictions who take federal housing and community development funds and ensuring those jurisdictions use their funds in a way to reduce segregation and meaningfully improve communities,” said Kate Walz, Director of Housing Justice at the Shriver Center. “As Secretary Julian Castro said today in Chicago, 'A child’s future should not be defined by their zip code.' This rule is an important step in breaking down the isolation and harmful effects of residential segregation.”


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org.


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients. www.povertylaw.org

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