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Congressional Bill
January 2018

Summary

The Trump administration is trying to eliminate the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule started by President Obama. The AFFH  is a legal requirement that federal agencies and federal grantees further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, this means asking communities that receive Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws. The rule requires jurisdictions that receive federal housing funding to not only document barriers to integration and opportunity, but to detail—and prioritize—policies to eradicate them.

Still, sadly, key components of this bill did not make it through the required Office of Management and Budget review by the time Trump was sworn in. As a result, this means that Trump does not even have to undo the rule as it was never put into effect. “He can just let it languish, unfinished, and direct his HUD secretary to return to business as usual.” LEARN MORE

Analysis

The AFFH regulation passed under the Obama Administration made it so when communities applied for federal HUD money they had to turn in an Analysis of Impediments (AI) form. This form would show how residents of color faced segregation and what actions local officials were using to combat this issue. Sadly, the AIs have been a joke for years for many reasons. First, local leaders don’t take them seriously (they rely on realtors/developers instead of carrying out an actual analysis. Secondly, HUD never checks if the applications are telling the truth. This can be done by either sharing intelligence federal agencies have with state/local officials or simply hiring more personnel to increase accountability. As a result, segregation continues to exist even after multiple decades of the Fair Housing Act. The 2015 AFFH rule would have combatted this by making it easier to prepare accurate AIs by sharing federal data on segregation with local governments. In addition, it would also make it easier for HUD to hold back money from communities that are not actively fighting against segregated housing. LEARN MORE

Engagement Resources

  • Town Hall Project– This project compiles the open-to-the-public events held by state and local representatives. This provides a great opportunity to tell them that this executive order will do more bad than good. You can also dial 1-844-6-RESIST to be redirected to the office of your local member of Congress.
  • National Housing Law Project – The National Housing Law Project’s mission is to advance housing justice for poor people and communities. – https://www.nhlp.org/
  • The Poverty & Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) – A civil rights policy organization convened by major civil rights, civil liberties, and anti-poverty groups. PRRAC’s primary mission is to help connect advocates with social scientists working on race and poverty issues, and to promote a research-based advocacy strategy on structural inequality issues. – http://prrac.org/about.php
  • US Senate – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation. – https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
  • US House of Representatives – Contact your local representatives to take a stance against this proposed legislation – http://www.house.gov/representatives/

This brief was compiled by Vaibhav Kumar. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact vaibhav@usresistnews.org.


 

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