Cities and States Support Preserving Fair Housing Rule

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/12/2018, 11:50 a.m.
In reaction to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) suspension of an important fair housing rule, a groundswell ...
Charlene Crowell

In 2017, HUD proposed cutting $6 billion from its budget, including programs focusing on underserved communities. Plans were for Public housing to lose $1.3 million from facility improvements, and another $600 million in operational costs, where nationwide an estimated 1.2 families reside. These proposed cuts also sidestepped long-standing needs for technological improvements and staffing resources to effectively and efficiently administer the FHA program.

This past April, the State of New York declared a state of emergency due to widespread lead and mold found in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) that serves over 400,000 residents. On June 11, a $1.2 billion consent decree was reached with NYCHA, HUD, and the Environmental Protection Agency and the housing authority will provide environmental abatement.

Other HUD-proposed budget cuts would have eliminated entirely the Community Development Block Grant (CFBG) Program, and gut Choice Neighborhoods. That proposal raised lawmaker eyebrows as for every $1 in Choice Neighborhoods funding, awardees and their partners typically leverage for their projects an additional $5 in public and private funding.

While Secretary Carson continues these and other ill-advised initiatives, the nation’s housing needs continue to suffer, for both would-be homeowners and renters alike.

For example, the nation lacks 7.2 million affordable rental homes for low-income families, according to research by the National Fair Housing Alliance. Only 35 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income rental households.

On the homeownership front, research by the Center for Responsible Lending has found that Black and Latino mortgage borrowers are disproportionately dependent upon FHA financing, and still have scant access to the most affordable and sustainable mortgages – 30-year fixed rate conventional ones. This heavy reliance on FHA financing even includes upper income Blacks and Latinos who could be eligible for conventional lending.

Further, as many banks have withdrawn from the mortgage market, non-depository lending has increased. By 2016, eight of the top 10 FHA lenders were non-depositories.

Unfortunately, Secretary Carson has yet to focus on improving these and other housing challenges that the nation faces.

“The legacy of discrimination has left communities with entrenched segregation that reverberates through every policy decision these communities make,” noted Will Corbett, CRL’s Litigation Counsel. “The AFFH rule was a start, nearly fifty years after the Fair Housing Act became law, to provide both resources and accountability to local community efforts to close these historic gaps.”

“HUD should not be backsliding into continued segregation by leaving in the dark those communities that seek a more integrated future and not bringing to light the failure of those communities that would let the bigotry of the past calcify”, concluded Corbett.