Column: Fair Housing Act’s unfinished business

Charlene Crowell | 9/16/2015, 5:38 a.m.
In early September, public policy experts, housing advocates, civil rights leaders, academicians and others came together for three days to ...

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that upheld the use of disparate impact studies as a tool to fight for fair housing and a new HUD rule, Attorney General Lynch offered the gathering and HUD Justice’s full support.

“[I] am proud to support the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH), which is a crucial step toward ending historic patterns of segregation and removing disparities based on race, color, religion, sex, familiar status, national origin and disability,” said Lynch.

The new rule, announced this past July, clarifies and simplifies existing fair housing obligations. By creating a streamlined Assessment of the Fair Housing planning process, HUD hopes communities will be helped to analyze their own local challenges to fair housing choice and their own goals and priorities to address remaining barriers to fair housing in their communities.

Also voicing support for HUD’s new rule was Wade Henderson, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 national organizations.

“We need HUD to continue its AFFH enforcement efforts . . . To send a strong signal to jurisdictions that it’s serious about compliance on this issue,” said Henderson. “And HUD needs all of us to engage with local governments in the coming few years to hold them accountable, and to also push to see that HUD itself has the capacity it needs to do its job in the right way.”

In 2015, our quest for fair housing is far from finished. And the journey ahead will require the same level of principled fervor and determination that was amassed many years ago.

May we also find the will and the way to continue the journey for justice.

Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending.