Hud’s new legislation would restore revoked protections and rules

Charlene Crowell | 7/11/2018, noon

• A requirement that the HUD Secretary report to Congress a Secretary-directed review of fair housing complaints that involve an online platform. Additionally, the Secretary’s report to Congress would include: an analysis of trends and risks related to discrimination, steps to address such discrimination, and the status of complaints filed.

The legislation also includes a requirement that owners and operators of HUD-funded homeless shelters to post a notice informing clients of their rights under an agency rule regarding gender identity. This rule affects any grantee receiving funding through the agency’s Community Planning and Development program.

Before yielding back the balance of her time, the Ranking Member added, “Congress should not stand by while the agency charged with ensuring fair housing turns its back on its mission and takes actions that roll back critical protections that ensure that all Americans have fair access to housing.”

For his part, Secretary Carson noted that each year, HUD receives an estimated 8,000 fair housing complaints. In speaking to the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, he also added, “HUD and our fair housing partners continue to enforce the letter and [sic] spirit of this landmark law.”

Early reactions to Secretary Carson’s comments reflect how his words and his actions diverge.

“Fifty years ago, Congress empowered HUD to dismantle legalized discrimination in housing to create opportunity for all as where you live is a factor in so many of life’s outcomes, including education and healthcare,” noted Nikitra Bailey, an EVP with the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL). “Rep. Waters’ new bill requires HUD to remain steadfast in its responsibility to foster inclusive communities free of discrimination so that all Americans have the ability to thrive.

And Bailey is not alone. Beyond CRL, H.R. 6220 is also supported by several civil rights and housing advocates that include: National Fair Housing Alliance, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (also known as LISC), NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Housing Law Project, PolicyLink, and other organizations.

The bill has been referred to two House Committees, Judiciary and Financial Services. Time will tell whether in the year marking the golden anniversary of the Fair Housing Act if other Members of Congress will stand up for fair housing too.

Charlene Crowell is the Center for Responsible Lending’s Deputy Communications Director.