NCRC statement on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Executive Order

Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) replaced the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule with a much weaker one, and without any public comment on the new rule. The new rule will set a much lower bar, essentially relying on local governments to self-certify that they are “furthering fair housing.”

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, made the following statement”

“This is terrible. The administration just gutted the rule that enforces fairness in housing, which was and still is the whole point of the Fair Housing Act. All of us have an interest in living in fair and desegregated communities. This would be among the most overtly racist housing policies in decades. It’s hard to even call it a policy. It doesn’t enforce anything. Instead, it hands off any action to local governments. They can do nothing but talk, take no action and claim they are furthering fair housing. This approach won’t affirmatively further anything other than discrimination.

“In place of enforcement and metrics to track anything, now local communities simply have to tell the government that they are furthering fair housing. This is an administration that has no problem sending anonymous militarized federal police into American cities to suppress free speech and peaceful protests, but when it comes to fair housing and putting an end to the legacy of segregation and racism that still shapes our communities, it’s hands off, and by executive fiat, with no public input. Through this new rule, the federal government essentially dropped out of housing desegregation and handed off responsibility to local governments. This flies in the face of what the Fair Housing Act requires: that the federal government acts to further fair housing. Asking for self-certification from local governments isn’t an act, it isn’t affirmatively furthering anything. It’s an abdication of responsibility.

“Sweeping away desegregation of housing by executive fiat, through a new rule with no public input, shows disdain for all Americans. The president’s implication that this five-year old rule somehow ruined suburbs is both counter-factual and a transparent shoutout to white supremacists who don’t like that America’s suburbs, along with the entire country, have become more diverse. That’s something to celebrate, not twist into a wedge issue to appeal to racists.

“This new rule will make no positive impact on addressing America’s deep and unfair racial wealth divide, or persistent patterns of racial segregation that continue to create unfair and unjust life outcomes for people based on their zip codes. Ending housing segregation and discrimination isn’t just about housing. It’s about ending racism and white supremacy in everyday life that blocks people of color from opportunities for a good life that are available to Whites, including access to great schools, homes, jobs, healthcare, clean air and water, nutritious food and the ability to save and invest in housing anywhere, and through that investment accumulate and pass on wealth to the next generation. The Trump Administration just said no to all of that. It’s shameful.”

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