More than 19,500 individuals and organizations submitted comments in response to a U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) proposed rule
that would gut an essential civil rights tool under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) before the public comment period closed this week. The Trump Administration proposed the rule in January and has since received widespread opposition from an array of civil rights advocates, legal experts, business groups and private citizens nationwide.
The proposal aims to effectively eliminate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) mandate, an essential housing discrimination protection that is designed to correct discriminatory housing practices and address the lasting impacts of government- and privately-sponsored residential segregation.
Scores of national advocacy groups, public and private entities, and members of Congress submitted comments in opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposal, including the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. The Committee’s minority party members wrote in their comment that the proposed rule “guts both the spirit and intent of the FHA and replaces it with an approach that relies on the faulty premise that simply increasing housing supply can address the problems of housing discrimination and segregation.”
"The Fair Housing Act's AFFH rule was constructed to confront the role of government-engineered policies and practices that have cemented intentional segregation throughout the United States," said Lisa Rice, president and chief executive officer of the National Fair Housing Alliance. "By abandoning the rule, HUD is disposing of the requirements to conduct any analysis of the barriers to housing and neighborhood opportunity for protected classes, and by making no requirement to assess the level of residential segregation or racially concentrated poverty in any given location, HUD will effectively green light discrimination and allow the perpetuation of segregation and its resultant harms indefinitely. This attack on fair housing is part of the Trump Administration’s larger ongoing efforts to dismantle civil rights protections, and it must be stopped."
Leading up to the March 16th public comment period deadline, civil rights and fair housing groups and their members throughout the country came together to express opposition to the proposed rule during a coordinated week of action. Participants joined online and in-person events where they learned more about HUD’s proposed rule and the potential consequences for communities throughout the country if it is passed.