Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 18 attorneys general, today filed a comment letter in support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule to strengthen critical fair housing protections. HUD’s proposed rule implements the federal Fair Housing Act’s (FHA’s) Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) mandate by promoting residential integration and increasing protections against unlawful discriminatory housing practices.
“The legacy of discrimination and segregation in housing continues to negatively affect the overall health of communities and limits the potential of neighborhoods throughout the United States,” Raoul said. “Increasing the tools available to neighborhoods and holding entities accountable for implementing fair housing goals are important steps forward to continue to dismantle decades of discriminatory housing practices.”
The proposed HUD rule would require public entities that receive HUD funding to prepare Equity Plans that identify obstacles to fair housing choice and specific strategies to meet fair housing goals. It would promote community engagement and accountability by making Equity Plans available to the public for review and input, as well as allowing the public to hold program participants accountable through the proposed complaint and compliance review process. The proposed rule would also enable HUD to provide technical assistance and comprehensible data for program participants to use to identify barriers to fair housing and set specific goals to remedy those issues. These important changes would lessen the burden on program participants while also providing effective accountability measures.
The FHA requires HUD to take affirmative steps to further fair housing, including by tackling the legacy of segregation and disparities in access to housing. The new AFFH proposal reflects a renewed and robust effort to implement this mandate and ensure that the goals of the FHA’s AFFH requirements are fulfilled.
In 2015, HUD promulgated a rule which created a process under which state and local jurisdictions were required to examine the barriers to fair housing specific to their communities, and develop a plan to overcome disparities to housing access and fair housing choice. The 2015 AFFH rule was scrapped by the previous presidential administration and replaced with a rule that did nothing to combat residential segregation.
Raoul and the coalition support the 2023 AFFH rule – replacing the previous presidential administration’s rule and building on protections included in the 2015 rule – and urge the agency to further enhance its protections against housing discrimination and segregation.
The coalition also offers additional suggestions to further enhance protections against housing discrimination and segregation, including:
Joining Raoul in the comments are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.