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The proposed changes would overwhelmingly tip the scales in favor of landlords and other defendants, letting them keep policies and practices that prevent people of color, women, families with children, people with disabilities, and others from having the fair access to housing that the FHA was intended to protect. The proposed changes would overwhelmingly tip the scales in favor of landlords and other defendants, letting them keep policies and practices that prevent people of color, women, families with children, people with disabilities, and others from having the fair access to housing.
Disparate impact refers to policies or practices that seem neutral or fair but in practice — either intentionally or unintentionally — negatively and disproportionally affect certain groups of people. In a housing context, disparate impact claims are a tool for enforcing rights under the FHA, which bans housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status, disability, and religion.
It would thereby increase the challenges that low-income people of color, individuals with disabilities, and others such as families with children face finding a place to live. In addition, this proposal could empower communities to restrict these renters and new affordable housing units to certain neighborhoods, limiting the housing choices of those whom the FHA is supposed to protect and likely perpetuating the concentration of low-income renters of color and affordable housing developments in communities that face chronic underinvestment.
While the proposed rule affects many housing market stakeholders, this report primarily describes the impact on renters, especially those receiving federal rental assistance, and rental properties, primarily those financed using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.
Among renters, we highlight the challenges for renters of color and renters with disabilities because these two FHA-protected groups are most likely to report experiencing housing discrimination, evidence shows. For more than four decades, two legal tools have been used to protect against housing discrimination: 1 disparate treatment claims, which challenge clearly intentional discrimination, such as overt racism, and 2 disparate impact claims, which challenge policies that may seem neutral or fair but in practice disproportionately deny housing to members of a protected class.
The proposed rule does this by changing the standard used to determine what a renter or other plaintiff must do to bring forward and win their case. In , HUD finalized a rule that lays out the current disparate impact standard, which codified the standard courts most commonly used for decades. Only after the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case can the discovery process start, during which both parties request information from each other that they will then use as evidence to prove or disprove disparate impact discrimination and win their case.
The proposed rule would turn the prima facie standard into a difficult five-step process that would be nearly impossible for most renters to meet.
Currently, after the plaintiff passes that initial prima facie test, the defendant gets a chance to show they have a legitimate reason for using the policy or practice. The proposed rule superficially keeps these steps in place, but makes it much easier for the defendant to show they have a legitimate reason for the policy and much harder for the plaintiff to point to an alternative policy.
Researchers, for instance, are raising concerns that automated hiring practices that use algorithms can cause racial and gender disparities in hiring. Low-income renters already have limited affordable housing options. With fewer options, families may have to accept substandard housing or pay more for rent than they can afford, threatening their economic and educational outcomes and risking housing stability and even homelessness.
Racist and discriminatory practices — even those that seem neutral but have discriminatory impacts — affect where families find housing they can afford, which can harm their current and future outcomes.
If communities enact policies that restrict affordable housing developments or if landlords can refuse renters who use rental subsidies to pay rent, it can effectively prohibit low-income people of color and others whom the FHA protects from living in certain neighborhoods.
Housing discrimination, including in the rental market, is often disguised or difficult for renters to recognize.
Supreme Court has noted. Discrimination against renters is by far the most commonly reported form of housing discrimination, representing nearly 90 percent of all housing discrimination complaints filed with private fair housing organizations and federal, state, and local government agencies in See Table 1.
Data on place of birth was not available for people receiving HUD rental assistance. Disability discrimination is the most frequently reported kind of housing discrimination in fair housing complaints, followed by racial discrimination. For instance, a study that HUD commissioned found that people with mental-health-related disabilities faced significant discrimination in the rental market compared to people without these disabilities. The Housing Choice Voucher program is the largest federal rental assistance program, helping more than 5 million people in over 2 million households afford a place to live.
As the name implies, it is designed to give families choice about where they live by helping them pay for modestly priced housing that they find in the private market. It has several ways it allocates resources to people who qualify for housing assistance.
The largest subset of resources are tenant-based vouchers, meaning the rental subsidy is tied to the individual or family instead of a physical rental unit, giving families more choice about which neighborhoods to live in. And, evidence shows that the Housing Choice Voucher program does indeed change housing options for families, though far more progress needs to be made.
Low-income Black, Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander children in families with housing vouchers are more likely to live in low-poverty neighborhoods than their counterparts without a housing voucher. For instance, some public housing agencies administering vouchers have implemented preferences for residents already living in their communities.
Households may apply for housing vouchers in communities they do not currently reside in, but these residency preferences can effectively lock them out of both vouchers and those communities. When housing agencies in white communities with lower poverty rates use residency preferences, they can prevent people of color from participating in the local voucher program and gaining access to those communities , thereby creating a disparate impact on people of color and reinforcing segregation.
Claims that such residency preferences disparately impact potential voucher holders on the basis of race have led to several settlements that eliminated or modified the use of residency preferences. Participants in the Housing Choice Voucher program may face greater difficulty in finding a home to rent using their voucher if disparate impact claims become harder to bring and win.
Individuals and families already face significant challenges using their vouchers. It can be time consuming and difficult to locate available housing units, particularly in tight housing markets with relatively few vacancies. This would compound existing challenges and make it more likely that families in protected classes who receive housing vouchers would be unable to use them.
The proposed rule, by effectively permitting increased discrimination, could also lead to lower success rates in the voucher program; that is, a lower share of families that receive vouchers in a given year would actually be able to use their voucher to sign a lease with a landlord.
Issuing these vouchers to additional families requires more work on the part of agency staff — for instance, in notifying families that a voucher is available, verifying their income and eligibility, and briefing them on program rules and the housing search process.
It could mean that available voucher resources in some cases go unused, not because local need for housing assistance has been met, but because of added inefficiencies that this rule would have created. A long legacy of racist and discriminatory public policies played a central role in the creation and persistence of racially segregated neighborhoods.
Once white families moved out of public housing after World War II with the creation of federally backed loan products to purchase homes which also discriminated against Black families , Black families were allowed to move into public housing. But, due to white families using these new loan products and purchasing homes largely in the suburbs, this solidified and increased segregation. This enabled policymakers and institutions to actively make additional discriminatory decisions that diverted public or private investments and positive economic growth away from Black neighborhoods.
Banks enacted redlining restrictions that discouraged investment in certain neighborhoods, usually those with a majority Black population. Federal, state, and local governments constructed highways, hazardous waste facilities, and other undesirable structures and facilities disproportionately in Black neighborhoods to avoid conflict with white neighborhoods.
Disparate impact claims have long been used to stop these harmful practices. For example, disparate impact claims have been used to challenge zoning rules that limit multi-family buildings and perpetuate segregation because people of color in those communities disproportionately live in multi-family housing.
It would also make it less likely that states, localities, and developers will be held accountable for perpetuating segregation, which runs counter to the FHA-mandated obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. People with disabilities have historically been segregated and isolated in institutions such as nursing homes or mental health facilities due to an inability to access housing and adequate community-based support services.
Governments, landlords, and developers often make it difficult to create and access housing for this population. For example, a landlord requiring a tenant to work a certain number of hours a week discriminates against individuals who can afford the housing perhaps because they receive rental assistance but must work part time due their health conditions. Also, local zoning restrictions that prohibit new apartment buildings — which must meet modern accessibility standards in building codes — could reduce access to accessible housing that also is located near medical, transportation, or other services that people with disabilities need.
Such policies and practices undermine the FHA. And, as the Supreme Court held in its landmark decision Olmstead v. As Table 1 shows, people with disabilities are slightly over-represented among low-income renters in the United States and are also more likely to receive rental assistance.
Through the affirmatively furthering fair housing requirement, HUD has a legal obligation to both protect and advance ways to help people with disabilities, as a protected class, access affordable housing. The results of this study are broadly consistent with the impressive outcomes found in the quasi-experimental Gautreaux studies, which tracked the outcomes of low-income families who used housing vouchers to move from segregated public housing developments in Chicago to middle-class, mostly white suburbs.
See also James E. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. Town of Yorktown, No. Smithtown, No. City of Black Jack , F. See also, Mhany Management, Inc. County of Nassau , F. City of Yuma , F. The ADA protects people with a broad range of disabilities and health conditions. See 42 U. October 18, Figure 1. PDF of this report 10 pp. More on this topic September 27, January 3, September 4, More from the Authors.
Peggy Bailey. Areas of Expertise:. Recent Work:. Anna Bailey.
Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule Would Perpetuate Racist and Discriminatory Housing Practices
In April, we will celebrate Fair Housing Month and the 52nd anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act, passed in to ensure that every American would have equal access to housing and be free from discrimination. Today it remains one of the most critical pieces of civil rights legislation for advancing racial and other forms of equality, and helps foster stronger and more inclusive communities, essential to our collective success and prosperity. One of the tenets of the Fair Housing Act is that entities receiving federal funding must do its part to affirmatively further fair housing , that is, foster communities that are diverse and inclusive, eliminate systemic discrimination based on race and other factors, topple the barriers created by government-sponsored segregation, and ensure that residents of all communities have access to the resources and opportunities they need to thrive. In , the administration released an affirmatively furthering fair housing AFFH rule that encompassed elements intended to create an effective fair housing planning process, centered on the concerns raised by community members and resulting in concrete strategies for tackling barriers to fair housing. It set the nation on a path toward dismantling the systemic discrimination and deeply entrenched segregation that harm us all.
Fair Housing Act Cases Filed by Year and State
Malanris There had been no domestic violence or other cause for a legal order against me. To date he dates my then best friend, has a very successful lawsukts in his dads name and he lives in our k home. I am a 53 yr old woman who is homeless in southern cal. Thank you for this great blog! Vudotaxe Somehow, he modified the loan with my name on it. I am in washington state can you help me to get a attorney to represent me in this matter can you take on a case in the state of washington for contingincy fee.
Fair Housing Act Cases
File Type: Procedural Item. In Control: City.. Discuss pending and contemplated litigation — Texas. It is the largest single. They can allow people of just one gender to stay there. If you have not yet investigated the possibility of getting SSI on the basis of your disability, you can read about it and apply for it online.