WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: LEADERS NATIONWIDE PRAISE HUD’S AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING ACTION

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: LEADERS NATIONWIDE PRAISE HUD’S AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING ACTION

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 10, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) yesterday announced a final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule to equip communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds. This obligation was intended to ensure that every person in America has the right to fair housing, regardless of their race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status. The final rule aims to provide all HUD program participants with clear guidelines and data they can use to achieve those goals.

Leaders in city government, the U.S. Congress, think tanks, civil rights organizations, fair housing organizations, housing groups, regional councils, and academic institutions have quickly offered their support of this announcement.

What leaders are saying about HUD’s fair housing action:

New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio:“We commend Secretary Castro and the entire HUD team’s efforts to develop regulations designed to help housing and community development agencies across the United States better achieve our shared goals of overcoming historic patterns of residential segregation and using our housing and community development investments to reduce inequality, rebuild neighborhoods burdened with concentrated poverty, and provide families with access to opportunities that will serve as stepping stones to better lives for them and their children.”

House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters: “The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision of the Fair Housing Act was intended to help remedy years of government-supported segregation and inequality, not by forcing diversity, but by empowering and encouraging states and localities to partner with the federal government to address the effects of these harmful policies. I am particularly pleased that HUD has addressed a concern I raised by making several changes in the final rule to make clear that investment in areas of racially and ethnically concentrated poverty is a strategy that falls within the purpose and definition of AFFH.  In doing so, HUD has explicitly recognized the importance of place-based strategies in local efforts to expand housing opportunities, as well as the need for balanced consideration when it comes to strategic investment.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler:“Today’s announcement of new rules to combat segregation in federally subsidized housing from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is commendable. Local communities will have additional tools to increase transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. These rule changes will help us design and develop ways to provide more access and opportunity to affordable housing, while supporting our efforts to combat poverty and segregation. We appreciate the efforts of HUD and the leadership of Secretary Castro.”

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison:“The final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housingrule moves our nation towards real solutions and creates communities of opportunity for all Americans. HUD’s action today will make it a little easier for families with children, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian American Pacific Islanders, new Americans, people with disabilities and other under-served Americans to make ends meet.”

Houston Mayor Annise Parker :“We support the balanced approach the new rule takes toward affirmatively furthering fair housing. The City of Houston has been actively using targeted revitalization and community engagement to transform areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, while preserving affordable housing choices for our residents. We applaud Secretary Castro and HUD for developing a rule that acknowledges the unique and varied needs of our nation’s cities and provides multiple avenues for achieving the goals of the Fair Housing Act”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel , where AFFH announcement was made:“We have a long history as it relates to fair housing. I think this is the perfect place not just because of the history of Chicago but because of the future we are building today.”

Cashauna Hill, Executive Director of The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center: “All too often, where we live determines our access to opportunities. The issuance of this rule provides crucial guidance in ensuring that the City of New Orleans and other local governments can achieve the vision of the Fair Housing Act.”

Brad Howard, spokesman for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu: “Mayor Landrieu has long advocated for policies that create more inclusive communities, increase housing choices for all residents and reduce disparities in life outcomes created by poor housing conditions. We are pleased that President Obama and Secretary Castro are providing communities with data and tools designed to help ensure more Americans have equal access to opportunity no matter where they grow up. No child’s dreams should be out of reach simply because of his or her zip code. Though challenges remain, New Orleans has already made great progress in developing mixed-income, mixed-use affordable housing opportunities that bring communities together, and we hope these new resources will help realize even more progress as we head into 2018.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine (Washington State):  “These new federal regulations will let communities better understand the devastating impact of historic patterns of discrimination and segregation on our country. Secretary Castro is giving us innovative tools and resources to accelerate the work we’re doing in our region, increasing access to opportunity and ensuring that a person’s ability to thrive is not dictated by his or her ZIP code.”

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson: “Our goal is to be inclusive, our goal is to create equal access to opportunity and that’s exactly what this goal that HUD’s new rule of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is all about.  HUD’s new assessment of fair housing tool helps local leaders visualize where opportunity is and where opportunity isn’t and it helps local leaders craft data driven solutions and to invest where it matters most in our cities.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges:“The increased focus on fair housing is in line with the priorities of [my] office and the city and that it provides ‘the new tools we need to help combat the housing disparities we have long struggled to overcome.’”

Brownsville, TX Mayor Tony Martinez:“Here in the City of Brownsville, we’re all about breaking down barriers, and this announcement will bring us that much closer to reaching our goal. We support Secretary Castro and HUD in their efforts to tackle housing segregation; this is an important advancement for communities everywhere. We look forward to working with our partners, acquiring stronger tools, and gaining the technical assistance needed to break down barriers to fair housing.”

Janet Murguía, President and CEO of NCLR:“For Latino families, who are among the most vulnerable to fair housing violations, strong regulations that combat systemic discrimination are essential to expanding opportunities and promoting healthier, safer and more diverse communities. Persistent segregation in communities often prevents low-income people and people of color from accessing quality schools, transportation and jobs. This strong rule from HUD will help address the growing racial and ethnic inequalities in this country by ensuring that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, family status or disability, may choose where they want to live.”

NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF): “HUD’s rule could not come at a more critical time. The affirmative obligation imposed by the Fair Housing Act on local governments is perhaps the strongest tool we have to counter entrenched patterns of residential segregation that limit access to opportunity.  Housing is the linchpin to quality schools, good jobs, accessible transportation and safe neighborhoods.  This rule is a much needed jump-start for localities to address the myriad forces that restrict access to opportunity and to build more inclusive communities where everyone may thrive.”

President of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund:  “Housing discrimination is the unfinished business of civil rights. It goes right to the heart of our divide from one another. It goes right to the heart of whether you believe that African American people’s lives matter, that you respect them, that you believe they can be your neighbors, that you want them to play with your children.”

Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League: “It’s significant, because it is a serious effort by the administration to, in effect, enforce one of the legacy civil rights laws.  The country has to confront this, and it is my hope that this rule will help us change this paradigm, because this pattern of residential segregation, isolated pockets of poverty, is not just confined to the cities.”

Wade Henderson, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights:  “This rule will help our nation move forward on the largely unrealized promise of the Fair Housing Act: that Americans are free to live in the communities of their choice, regardless of their race, family, or disability status. At a time of heightened concern across the country over threats to racial justice, as seen in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, a fully functioning and effective Fair Housing Act is more important than ever.  When Americans are denied equal opportunity to housing, they are denied access to good jobs, quality education, safe streets, accessible transit, and a clean and healthy environment, all of which are critical to leading healthy and prosperous lives.  We applaud Secretary Castro and the Obama administration for taking this affirmative step to ensure fair housing opportunities for all.”

Sheila Crowley, President and CEO of National Low Income Housing Coalition:  “The regulation will provide jurisdictions with guidance in complying with their existing obligations. This is a gigantic step in the right direction. The issuance of HUD’s final rule today puts local and state policymakers on notice that fair housing is an obligation, not a choice.”

Ed Gramlich, a special advisor to the National Low Income Housing Coalition:  “This is going to be an incredibly important and positive step to changing things over the long run.”

Philip Tegeler, Executive Director – Poverty & Race Research Action Council:  “This rule forces us to address the American paradigm of separate and unequal.  It asks cities and towns to confront the consequences of their past policies and decide how to move forward in a fair, inclusive and democratic way.”

Shanna L. Smith; President and CEO, National Fair Housing Alliance:  “We applaud HUD for releasing this important rule, and look forward to working with HUD on its implementation.”

Debby Goldberg, National Fair Housing Alliance:  “Bundled together with where you live is a whole bunch of other things like where your kids go to school, what kind of transportation is going to serve you, what kinds of jobs you have access to, whether you have a healthy environment. The goal of this rule is to make sure we have greater equity and equality in terms of access to the opportunities that people need to succeed in life.”

Chris Estes, President and CEO, National Housing Conference:  “HUD has taken a major positive step forward with this rule.  Now HUD and local jurisdictions need to get to work together to build the trust that can lead to real change in communities.”

Angela G. Blackwell, Founder and CEO, PolicyLink: “We saw local leaders appreciate their ability to make decisions informed by data, community knowledge, and drawing from best practices.  They were hungry to address the longstanding challenges that reinforce poverty and limit opportunity. Today, we are one step closer to creating a more fair and just America.”

Solomon Greene and Erika C. Poethig of the Urban Institute:  “In some places, effective strategies might involve preserving affordable housing in a gentrifying urban area where market pressures are squeezing out lower-income minority residents; in others, it might involve breaking down exclusionary barriers that prevent the construction of affordable housing in wealthier suburban areas.” Read more.

Diane Glauber, Co-Director of the Lawyers’ Committee’s Fair Housing & Community Development Project:  “The finalization of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation is a critical step toward the realization of the Fair Housing Act’s vision of open, inclusive communities.  For far too long, the investment of federal housing funds has perpetuated the segregated status quo.”

Margaret K. Suib, Esq, Norwalk Fair Housing Office:  “Although we have made progress, we are also remain a highly segregated society.  Maps of cities, including in Connecticut, illustrate how segregated our communities are.  Yet, where you live has a big impact on how life unfolds.  It determines the schools your children attend, the jobs you have access to, the quality of your surroundings, your access to transportation and grocery stores and other important community resources, which then help determine your health, wealth, education and opportunity.  In our region, too many children are growing up in neighborhoods lacking in the high quality resources.  This not only limits their life perspectives, but undermines out region’s prosperity.  The new HUD rule will help all jurisdictions in Connecticut, and indeed all over America, be more deliberate and strategic about how we use housing and community development resources to expand access to opportunity for all residents of our community.  Norwalk’s Fair Housing Advisory Commission and I look forward to working with local policymakers, to ensure that all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, family status or disability, can choose where to live, and all neighborhoods are good places to live.  WE have advocated for this rule for some years now, and are extremely gratified that HUD has now released it.”

Melody Woosley, Director of the San Antonio Human Service Department:  “The new rules improve past regulations and provide the opportunity for full community input on the issue of housing for the low-income and disabled populations. Additionally, it allows for advance notice to the community about impending changes in their neighborhood, which will improve the community input process.”

Marlene Nagel, Mid-America Regional Council:  “I think it raised awareness locally of issues related to affordable housing and access to resources. There has been an increased recognition of the need for greater housing choice throughout our community.”

Raphael Bostic, Professor with the Sol Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California: “Americans really do care about broader society and broader community. I think that just by virtue of having that conversation we’re going to see a bunch of really innovative and really interesting things emerge.”

Shelley Poticha, Director of Urban Solutions at the Natural Resources Defense Council:  “For far too long, our challenge has been to dig deep into our racial and economic history and pinpoint the barriers that prevent some Americans from enjoying what many of us take for granted — clean air and water, affordable housing, safe streets, good schools, healthy food and convenient and affordable access to jobs.  The new rules are an important and long-awaited step toward improving the lives of millions of Americans. Housing policies have long been a driver of national living patterns, contributing to suburban sprawl and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.  These rules will help achieve a goal defined as important to our country more than a half-century ago. They have the potential to level the playing field in cities across America, giving struggling neighborhoods greater opportunities to thrive and prosper – while offering low-income Americans the chance to raise their families in neighborhoods where there are more choices for a brighter future.’’

To learn more about the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Final Rule visit: www.hud.gov/AFFH

 

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HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet
at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on
Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

Contact
Heather Fluit
202-708-0685
http://www.hud.gov/news/index.cfm

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