Following today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of a final rule that will provide communities with data, tools and guidance to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, praised the measure as critical to address the effects of the segregation and inequality across our nation.
She released the following statement on the rule, which strengthens the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) provision of the Fair Housing Act.
“The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision of the Fair Housing Act was intended to help remedy years of government-supported segregation and inequality, not by forcing diversity, but by empowering and encouraging states and localities to partner with the federal government to address the effects of these harmful policies.
The regulation released today would provide communities with greater clarity on how to help break down barriers to creating neighborhoods of opportunity by arming local authorities with better data to analyze their housing needs. It will empower them to be more strategic in their housing policies and help ensure federal funds are not used to support discriminatory policies, such as those that unfairly deprive minority communities of investment, or zoning laws that unfairly exclude persons with disabilities.
I am particularly pleased that HUD has addressed a concern I raised by making several changes in the final rule to make clear that investment in areas of racially and ethnically concentrated poverty is a strategy that falls within the purpose and definition of AFFH. In doing so, HUD has explicitly recognized the importance of place-based strategies in local efforts to expand housing opportunities, as well as the need for balanced consideration when it comes to strategic investment.
With this strong rule, the Obama Administration has underscored the importance of furthering equal housing opportunities – and has echoed the recent decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the disparate impact standard to prevent discrimination in housing. This is particularly needed now, in the face of a recent assault on fair housing goals by Republicans in their budget – and in their rhetoric.”
In 2014, Waters called on HUD to assert that continued investment in high-poverty, high-minority neighborhoods is consistent with its goal of affirmatively furthering fair housing.