Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a new proposed “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) rule that acts upon the Fair Housing Act’s mandate to ensure fair housing for all Americans. The proposed rule “aims to remedy the effects of the long history of discrimination in housing” and builds upon the 2015 AFFH rule that was dismantled during the Trump Administration.
The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) has a decades-long history advocating for fair housing and in the establishment and refinement of the AFFH rule. In 2013, HUD issued a proposed rule to clarify state and local governments’ affirmative fair housing obligations, in response to which LDF submitted comments on the proposed rule, urging the adoption of strong enforcement mechanisms and measurable performance standards.
In 2014, HUD issued a proposed Assessment Tool, which revised and strengthened the evaluations jurisdictions must conduct to comply with their affirmative obligations under the Fair Housing Act. More recently, LDF and the National Fair Housing Alliance released a report, Bad Housing Blues: New Report Reveals Evidence of Source of Discrimination in the Memphis Area and Proposes Recommendations to Address National Concerns, highlighting how policymakers can address this ongoing crisis.
In response to today’s HUD announcement, Janai S. Nelson, President and Director-Counsel of LDF, issued the following statement:
“We congratulate and commend Secretary Marcia Fudge and the Biden Administration for establishing this critical step for communities long impacted by discriminatory practices and policies. Under Secretary Fudge’s leadership, HUD is taking much needed measures to restore critical rules and practices to affirmatively fair housing.
“HUD’s rule comes at a critical time. This increased opportunity for evaluation, accountability, and transparency are vital to improve a housing situation that, especially for Black communities, is still far too similar to that which inspired the movement for fair housing in the first place. We look forward to working with HUD and various partners in the fight for ending racial discrimination in housing.”
Additionally, Lisa Cylar Barrett, LDF’s Director of Policy and Director of the Washington D.C. Office, issued the following statement:
“For too long, Black communities, other communities of color, and other marginalized peoples have seen their right to fair, adequate, and humane housing, and the attendant opportunities, denied. We welcome Secretary Fudge’s new actions and look forward to working with HUD, our partners, and representatives of the most impacted communities to ensure the final AFFH rule is robust and effectively implemented to improve everyone’s access to the resources and opportunities needed to thrive and succeed.”
Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.