FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Wednesday, July 8, 2015
202.466.2121 (ext. 238)
WASHINGTON—The National Housing Conference welcomes The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s announcement today of a final rule implementing the Fair Housing Act’s requirement to affirmatively further fair housing. The guidance in the rule and the tools it provides to states and localities will help communities nationwide find ways to create affordable housing opportunities for all. When people of all backgrounds can live near where they work, study and build their lives, we all prosper.
Although the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, this is the first time HUD has issued formal regulation to implement the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. The final rule clarifies obligations of states and localities, provides tools to help them meet those obligations and establishes a timetable for meeting those obligations. On the whole, the changes to the existing process are incremental rather than dramatic. NHC hopes that the phased-in implementation HUD included in the final rule will provide additional time for the department and its grantees to develop a shared understanding of how to fulfill the aspirations of the Fair Housing Act.
“HUD has taken a major positive step forward with this rule,” said Chris Estes, President and CEO of NHC. “Now HUD and local jurisdictions need to get to work together to build the trust that can lead to real change in communities.”
The final rule recognizes that building more inclusive communities requires both new pathways to opportunity from places of economic distress and investment to create new opportunity in established neighborhoods. This theme came forth clearly in the proposed rule and in comments from NHC and many others, and it is essential to maintain an appropriate mix of mobility and investment strategies as communities move forward to implement the rule.
The lack of affordable housing in desirable neighborhoods is a mounting challenge nationwide, with 9.6 million working households paying more than half of their income for housing. Long-standing patterns of residential segregation are part of the affordability challenge, because they create artificial barriers and high costs to some neighborhoods and undermine the economic vitality in other places. NHC is committed to helping all housing stakeholders build stronger, more inclusive communities that provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for all.
About the National Housing Conference
The National Housing Conference represents a diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, Realtors®, equity investors, and more, all of whom share a commitment to safe, decent and affordable housing for all in America. We are the nation’s oldest housing advocacy organization, dedicated to the affordable housing mission since our founding in 1931. We are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit that brings together our broad-based membership to advocate on housing issues. Learn more at www.nhc.org.