A trio of nonprofit advocacy groups—The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), Texas Appleseed and Texas Low Income Housing Information Service—filed a lawsuit
to force the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to reinstate an Obama-era “affirmatively further fair housing” (AFFH) requirement that local and state governments address segregated housing patterns as a condition of receiving HUD funding.
The AFFH was enacted in 2015. In their lawsuit, the groups charged HUD with unlawfully suspending the requirement in January for six years, which they claimed would “effectively removing civil rights oversight of as much as $5.5 billion per year until 2024 or later for almost 1,000 jurisdictions.” The Texas-based nonprofits suing HUD asserted that the AFFH rule is needed “as a bulwark against an unequal rebuilding process in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.”
“For 30 years, NFHA has promoted the affirmatively furthering fair housing requirement of the Fair Housing Act,” said NFHA President and CEO Lisa Rice. “We have advocated to HUD to release an effective AFFH Rule, educated jurisdictions, fair housing groups and community-based organizations about the AFFH requirements, and implemented programs designed to further fair housing. Each day HUD holds up requiring jurisdictions to fully comply with the law is another day that millions of people are being denied fair housing opportunities. HUD’s action is a clear example of ‘justice delayed, justice denied.’”
HUD did not immediately comment on the lawsuit. The plaintiffs are being represented in their litigation by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the law firm of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC, the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the Poverty & Race Research Action Council and Public Citizen Litigation Group.