Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, introduced H.R. 6220, the Restoring Fair Housing Protections Eliminated by HUD Act of 2018, a bill to restore several fair housing protections that Ben Carson, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), has eliminated.
“The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is supposed to create strong communities; expand access to affordable housing; and enforce fair housing rights. Unfortunately, since becoming Secretary, Ben Carson has taken numerous steps to eliminate fair housing protections for the most vulnerable families in this country. From proposing to eliminate fair housing from HUD’s mission statement to eliminating protections for LGBTQ individuals, under Secretary Carson, HUD has stepped back from an important part of its mission.
“This is why I introduced H.R. 6220, the Restoring Fair Housing Protections Eliminated by HUD Act of 2018 to restore the protections that Carson has trampled on since taking the helm at HUD. I urge my colleagues in Congress to support this legislation and oppose any efforts by the Trump Administration to strip hardworking Americans of the necessary human right to access safe, decent and affordable housing.”
Ranking Member Waters has introduced H.R. 6220 a day before Secretary Carson is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Financial Services at a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” where Committee Democrats will be sure to press the Secretary on the numerous comments and actions he has taken to hinder access to fair housing in this country.
This legislation restores the following fair housing protections eliminated by Secretary Carson:
March 10, 2017: HUD withdrew a Federal Register notice regarding a proposal to require owners and operators of HUD-funded homeless shelters to post a notice informing individuals of their rights under HUD's “Equal Access in Accordance with an Individual’s Gender Identity in Community Planning and Development Programs” rule.
- Restoration: Section 5 of H.R. 6220 requires the HUD Secretary to reissue this Federal Register notice within 30 days of enactment, and finalize it within 90 days of reissuance.
January 5, 2018: HUD published a Federal Register notice that halted implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule, which carries out a key mandate under the Fair Housing Act.
- Restoration: Section 3 of H.R. 6220 requires the HUD Secretary to implement the AFFH rule as soon as practicable after the date of enactment.
March 6, 2018: Media outlets reported that a leaked HUD internal memo indicated that the Department’s mission statement would be changed to remove language referring to “inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
- Restoration: Section 2 of H.R. 6220 codifies the mission of HUD, including language referring to “inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”
March 28, 2018: Media outlets reported that HUD is attempting to scale back federal efforts to enforce fair housing laws by freezing enforcement actions against local governments and businesses, including Facebook.
- Restoration: Section 6 of H.R. 6220 requires the HUD Secretary to conduct a review of fair housing complaints involving an online platform, and report to Congress with an analysis of trends and risks related to discrimination occurring in connection with the use of online platforms and the steps the Secretary plans to take to address such discrimination. Section 7 of this bill requires the HUD Secretary to develop and maintain an online database of fair housing complaints with detailed disaggregation of the data, including the status of the complaints, so that the public can monitor HUD’s progress in processing fair housing complaints.
May 23, 2018: HUD issued a notice stating that it is withdrawing the “Local Government Assessment Tool” which assists local governments in meeting their obligations under the Fair Housing Act’s mandate to affirmatively further fair housing. This delays the obligation of local governments to comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule until at least nine months after a new assessment tool is published.
- Restoration: Section 4 of H.R. 6220 requires the HUD Secretary to reinstate the Local Government Assessment Tool that assists jurisdictions in complying with the AFFH rule within 30 days of enactment.
H.R. 6220 is supported by the National Fair Housing Alliance, PolicyLink, Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Housing Law Project, Center for Responsible Lending, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Housing Trust, and CarsonWatch.
To view the legislation text, click here.