Yesterday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted comments regarding a proposed Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule that redefines affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH). LDF opposes this proposed rule, as it constitutes an utterly regressive step in efforts to fight discrimination in housing and address the lasting impacts of segregation. We strongly urge HUD to resume implementation of the 2015 AFFH regulation instead of enacting this new rule.
“The duty to affirmatively further fair housing is a longstanding mandate set forth in the Fair Housing Act (FHA) of 1968, which was enacted to combat structural inequalities resulting from years of discrimination and segregative housing practices,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel. “HUD’s proposed rule redefines AFFH in a way that completely undermines the purpose of the FHA by focusing on housing choice and deregulation – and hardly at all on diminishing poverty and segregation. This proposed rule is an affront to civil rights – and it prioritizes supposed ease in implementation over compliance with the law.”
In 2020, housing segregation and unequal access to opportunity remains entrenched in communities across the country. Indeed, the current Black homeownership rate is lower than it was prior to the passage of the FHA, and Black people often live in communities where they face challenges that include low-quality schools, lack of safe and reliable public transit, high unemployment, concentrated poverty, and more. This illustrates that HUD’s obligation to affirmatively further fair housing is very much still relevant and necessary today. The 2015 AFFH rule marked a significant, positive step toward this objective of clarifying and expanding housing justice — and it must be reinstated as opposed to the newly-proposed AFFH rule.
“The 2015 AFFH rule, which was developed after a comprehensive, two-year process of outreach and study, provided local communities with the data and resources needed to make effective decisions about how to distribute resources and implement strategies to address housing discrimination, segregation, and access to opportunity,” said Lisa Cylar Barrett, LDF’s Director of Policy. “Reinstating the 2015 AFFH rule is the best way to further the causes of racial justice, civil rights, and equal protection in accordance with the FHA’s mandate.”
Read a copy of our comments here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. 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. 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 NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.