Mon 3/16: HUD is gutting fair-housing protections for profit. Comments due tonight 11:59pm EST.

Action: Comment now on HUD’s stepping back from their charge to “affirmatively further” fair housing.

This still happens…It will happen more often if this proposal is passed.

In the latest of the Trump administration’s attacks on fair housing, HUD has proposed a new rule that would effectively eliminate their basic mandate – “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” Act (AFFH), making housing discrimination easier and further entrenching housing segregation.”The administration’s new proposal ticks four boxes that are basic themes for our “Who profits?” Trump administration.

  1. We must search out and destroy any program Obama touched.
  2. We hate poor people other than as convenient scapegoats for all America’s ills we can’t hang on immigrants.
  3. We do not “see” the results of racism.
  4. With a little tweaking, we can make money meant for the poor flow upwards to the wealthy.”
  • Comment here by tonight (Monday 3/16, 11:59pm EST)
  • Proposal here.
  • Other comments for inspiration here. Do not copy!

Points you can include in your comment! Mix them up. Use words that sound like you. Exact copies will be purged!

  • This proposed rule is a major step backward for both fair and affordable housing and should be immediately withdrawn.
  • Affordable housing does not automatically translate into fair housing.
  • The proposed AFFH rule change removes protections for racial and ethnic
    minorities, people with disabilities, and others to access housing without facing discrimination.
  • The weakening of oversight and accountability in this new proposal would no longer require that local governments or housing authorities address, or even consider, legacies of unequal housing opportunities. Agencies would be allowed to implement new policies or programs without consideration for their  impact on groups that have been discriminated against in the past.
  • The new rule would no longer require data collection with regard to racial or ethnic disparities such as treatment by real estate agents or mortgage lenders, proximity to good schools, or access to any other neighborhood amenities.
    • Segregation results from a variety of practices and not just income differences across different groups. Steering by real estate agents, redlining by mortgage lenders and home insurance companies, discriminatory appraisals, and refusing to rent to families with housing vouchers are just some of the practices that perpetuate segregation. These practices can be identified by the fair housing assessments required under the previous rule. Increasing the supply of affordable housing will not make them go away.
  • Communities across the country are fighting for what they need — for tenant protections like rent control, decent wages, and a sustainable environment.
  • This rule would seriously undermine those goals and that work.
  • HUD needs to remember that their mission is to serve all people, to promote fair housing and affordable housing for the people of this country.
  • It’s not to line the pockets of for-profit developers and polluters.
  • Share: (1) who you are, (2) where you’re from, and (3) how the housing crisis, discrimination, and segregation impacted you, your friends or your family.
  • If you have experienced or seen any of these common violations of the Fair Housing Act, or issues that the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is intended to solve,  include it in your comment.
    • the gentrification that leads to the demolition of properties and eviction of low-income families of color
    • neighborhoods that have underfunded and under-resourced schools
    • unfair distribution of city services/parks/maintenance
    • zoning rules that keep lower-income families out of better-funded neighborhoods and communities

Deeper Dive 

1968 – The time that shaped the Fair Housing Act…

What HUD is supposed to do: In 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act to end America’s well-documented and government-enabled history of housing discrimination and segregation. However, Housing and Urban Development (HUD), entrusted with this mission, failed to carry it out, so its goals were clarified in 2015 under the Obama administration with the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” Act (AFFH). This congressional mandate ordered HUD to not only correct discriminatory housing practices, but also to take active steps to undo historic patterns of segregation and other types of discrimination in both government and privately-owned housing stock, often reflected in racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, and afford access to opportunity for those to whom it has been denied, including access to better education, jobs and living conditions.

Isn’t racist segregation in housing solved yet? (shelter force) “…a wide range of disparity persists in today’s housing markets. Paired testing by a variety of public and private organizations has consistently demonstrated that when equally qualified white and non-white home seekers (families with similar incomes and wealth as well as housing preferences) visit real estate or rental agents they are often treated differently. The most recent national housing discrimination study conducted by the Urban Institute for HUD in 2012 found that in one out of every eight visits white home seekers were told about and shown more homes than were non-whitesIn November 2019, Newsday reported on its three-year investigation revealing that almost half of all African American, 39 percent of Latino, and 19 percent of Asian home seekers encountered a range of discriminatory practices in their efforts to find housing on Long Island. A 2015 investigation by Rutgers University public policy professor Paul Jargowsky for The Century Foundation concluded that poor Black Americans were three times more likely to live in a poor neighborhood than poor white Americans. Yet as Solomon Greene of the Urban Institute and Shamus Roller of the National Law Project noted, HUD’s proposed new rule does not even mention racial segregation or racially concentrated areas of poverty—which the Fair Housing Act was designed to address.”

How AFFH works:  (allianceforhousingjustice.org) AFFH requires that local communities receiving HUD dollars analyze patterns of segregation and discriminatory housing practices for families with children, people of color, people with disabilities and members of other protected classes. They are also required to take action to combat barriers to fair housing using concrete, data and community member driven plan to foster thriving communities for everyone. AFFH:

  • Equips local communities for decision making by providing local officials with data and mapping and other analytical tools. This data equips HUD grantees to better analyze patterns, trends, and conditions. Grantees are encouraged to gather additional local data and knowledge to ensure that the full local context and conditions inform the analysis.

  • Fosters rich community participation, ensuring that the experiences and perspectives of community members inform the assessment process.

  • Promotes a more effective relationship between federal investments and housing choice and access to opportunity needs, by incorporating the strategies developed during the AFH process into the Consolidated or Public Housing Authority Plans.

  • Supports and facilitates locally designed solutions – Local governments develop solutions to fair housing choice and barriers to opportunity through an integrated planning approach.

  • Promotes Jobs and Workforce Development –The AFFH rule helps jurisdictions plan housing that is affordable and located near transit that connects to job centers in opportunity-rich communities.

  • Shaped through Extensive Piloting – The AFFH rule was piloted by 74 HUD grantees through the Fair Housing and Equity Assessment (FHEA). To test the effectiveness, the FHEA modeled many components of the AFFH including: guidance, data, mapping, stakeholder collaboration and consultation, and robust community participation.

What damage has Trump’s HUD already done to accessible housing?:

  • January 2018 – HUD Suspends AFFH Rule

  • May 2018 – HUD withdraws the AFFH Assessment Tool

  • August 2018 – HUD files Notice of Proposed Rulemaking – Affirmatively Further Fair Housing: Streamlining and Enhancements.  A review of the Notice clearly reveals that HUD intends to make substantial and harmful changes to the AFFH Rule.

  • May 2019 – HUD proposed a rule that would effectively force mixed- immigration-status families to choose between two impossible options: separation and potential eviction.
  • Aug 2019 – HUD proposed a drastic change that would make it nearly impossible for victims of housing discrimination to successfully argue the disparate impact theory in court, which proposes that discrimination can be determined by a policy’s outcomes, not just its intentions.
  • January 2020 — HUD releases their proposed rule to the public. Its impact would be disastrous and gut fair housing and much more.

What Trump-HUD wants to do now: We are in the midst of a fair housing and affordable housing crisis, brought on by policies that have put the profits of developers, landlords, and billionaires over our right to housing. HUD Secretary Ben Carson and the Trump administration have decided that to keep some of the “affordable housing” parts of the AFFH rule, but strip out any regulations and accountability that might prevent segregation and discriminatory practices, helping administration donors and developer lobbyists.

(Americanprogress) “…the agency is announcing that it plans to gut the AFFH rule completely, proposing an entirely new version that conflates affordable housing with fair housing. The Obama-era definition of “affirmatively furthering fair housing” makes explicit mention of integration, concentration of poverty, and civil rights and emphasizes that localities are expected to take meaningful action to address disparities. The newly proposed definition, however, would be stripped of that language and instead evaluate jurisdictions based on three criteria: (1) whether they are free of legally proven cases of housing discrimination, cases that would be much harder to prove if the disparate impact rule were finalized; (2) whether there is an adequate supply of affordable housing throughout the region; and (3) whether that housing is of adequate quality. That might seem reasonable on the surface, but the new definition displays a clear disregard for a fair housing law that was created to address all barriers to housing, not just cost. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if people can afford housing if systemic discrimination prevents them from accessing it.”

  • (NRDC) “HUD is now proposing a new process that lacks transparency, detailed analysis or local accountability. It effectively ignores the impact of segregation, increases the risk of racial discrimination and removes requirements for community participation in fair housing development.
  • In addition, the new rule reduces the importance and need for energy efficiency and water standards which can create more sustainable housing and help drive down the cost of housing.
  • It also casts critical “wetland and environmental” protections as “unduly burdensome,” yet those regulations are critical to ensuring both the protection of sensitive habitat and keeping families safe from potential and repeated flood risk.”

(From nationalfairhousing.org)

  • Although it is presented as a fair housing rule, in fact this proposed AFFH regulation does nothing to address fair housing issues or advance a fair housing agenda. Rather, it is a poorly disguised effort to eliminate local housing and land use regulations.
  • The rule gets the meaning of AFFH wrong. Instead of HUD’s original charge of taking “meaningful actions” to “address significant disparities in housing needs and access to opportunity”, the new proposal’s “Fair housing choice” would be defined as “allowing” individuals and families to have the opportunity and options to live where they choose, within their means, without unlawful discrimination related to protected class status.
  • The rule confuses and conflates fair housing and affordable housing, which are separate, albeit overlapping, issues.
  • It takes a free market approach, essentially relying on the notion that if we remove the “barriers” to affordable housing development and let the market operate without constraints, it will solve our affordable housing problems and that, in turn, will solve our fair housing problems.
  • The proposal discards the requirement in both the 2015 regulation and 1995 guidance for jurisdictions to perform some kind of analysis to fair housing barriers in their communities and identify ways to overcome them.
    • The goals must have concrete and measurable outcomes or changes, but the rule offers no guidance and sets no standards to help jurisdictions understand how HUD will determine what outcomes will be acceptable to HUD.
  • It does not acknowledge systemic discrimination and segregation in any way. It also discards the equity and opportunity lenses that were key features of the 2015 regulation.
    • Segregation is a root cause of our nation’s race- and income-based health inequities and must be confronted. People of color and people with low incomes have less access to green space and high-quality health care in their communities and greater exposure to violence, environmental pollution, and stores selling health-harming products. Black children in more segregated counties fare worse in rates of child poverty and high school graduation than those in less segregated counties. Over the course of a lifetime, residential segregation limits wealth accumulation and social and economic mobility and contributes to lower life expectancies.” (RWJF/org)
  • It has virtually no reference to the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, family status or disability.
  • Meaningful community engagement on fair housing issues is eliminated.

    1. There is no separate fair housing planning process or plan.
    2. There is no requirement for a separate community engagement process designed to identify fair housing problems, set priorities and develop strategies to address them.
    3. The rule mimics some of the community participation requirements of the 2015 rule, such as consultation with FHIP agencies, organizations that represent members of protected classes and other constituencies. However, this consultation is folded into the Consolidated Plan process, which has very different objectives and often involves different stakeholders.
    4. Consultation must seek input on how AFFH goals in the certification will inform priorities and objectives of the Consolidated Plan. It does not seek input on what goals and strategies are needed to address major barriers to fair housing and how those inform and influence the Consolidated Plan.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s