Marcia L. Fudge, Housing Secretary, is in the process of reinstating fair housing regulations that were undone by former President Donald Trump. The rules are a direct response to systemic racism and housing discrimination.
“So much of wealth inequality has its basis in housing discrimination and the country’s failure to address fair access to housing,” Dennis Parker, Executive Director of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. “These are issues that really have a long-term intergenerational effect.”
The Biden administration is looking to reinstate two rules from 2013 and 2015. The two rules are integral to the enforcement of decades-old fair-housing law barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability that has far-reaching impact, say civil rights attorneys.
Through the jobs and infrastructure plan $213 billion will go towards housing programs.
“There is one of the most important tools that there is to address systemic racism in housing,” Michelle Aronowitz, a former HUD fair housing attorney, said. “You really need to look at the effects of government and corporate policies — not just what is meant or intended, but what the impact is. That’s fundamentally what this doctrine does. You shouldn’t be able to enact or maintain policies that lead to disparate outcomes based on unexamined assumptions or unnecessary conventions.”
“The president has drawn a line in the sand and stated he wants to achieve racial equity. He cannot do that without disparate impact,” Lisa Rice, President and Chief Executive of the National Fair Housing Alliance, said. “Disparate impact is not only critical for the housing and lending sectors but also anything else he wants to do in terms of education, transportation, health or voting rights.”
Fudge says “the purpose of the law is to bring an end to discrimination in housing and to eliminate the patterns of racial and ethnic neighborhoods and communities.”
“When you think about it, it was those infrastructure bills that helped to create systemic segregation and a deeply inequitable society,” Rice said. “The Biden administration cannot repeat that playbook.”
According to The Washington Post, 7,700 complaints were submitted to HUD for discrimination.
“We are focused on putting fair housing and civil rights back at the forefront of HUD’s mission,” Fudge said.