The Trump administration reconsiders the disparate impact rule

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) reconsidering HUD’s implementation of the Fair Housing Act disparate impact standard.

Jesse Van Tol, CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (www.ncrc.org), made the following statement:

“HUD appears to be thinking about how to create loopholes to avoid findings of disparate impact, a standard that says discrimination, regardless of intent, is illegal. It’s an important standard and the law is clear and settled. The Supreme Court affirmed the disparate impact standard in 2015. It looks like HUD wants to get around that decision and figure out how to allow discrimination in some cases. That’s a terrible and shocking idea. There’s no reason to touch the rule or introduce loopholes, confusion or uncertainty into a standard that is clear.

“I am especially concerned by HUD’s suggestion that it may create  “safe harbors” or regulatory exemptions to the application of the disparate impact rule.

“The questions posed by HUD purport to only seek clarity – but we already have clarity, including a crystal-clear ruling by the Supreme Court in favor of the disparate impact standard. This law has years of jurisprudence and the rule as it stands is sufficient.

“Remember, HUD recently removed the goal of creating communities “free of discrimination” from its mission statement. That change was more than symbolic. In this case, the administration’s pro-business, anti-regulation agenda d0esn’t even attempt to hide its comfort with discrimination against minorities, women and other protected groups. The disparate impact standard is clear.

“This also looks like another case of Wall Street trying to have its way over the interests of main street. The insurance industry hates the disparate impact rule and hopes to introduce exceptions and loopholes to introduce confusion and weaken its universal application.”

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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