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National Fair Housing Alliance Issues A Policy Roadmap For The Biden Administration

In an effort to reverse the Trump administration’s legacy on weakening enforcement of fair housing laws, the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) has released a detailed policy roadmap for the incoming Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress to ensure communities of color can bounce back in full force post-pandemic. The plan is centered around four key goals and corresponding actions to be taken on day one, in the first 100 days and during the first year in office. 

The roadmap includes recommendations to unwind the damage done to the nation’s fair housing infrastructure in the past four years and enable the Biden-Harris administration to effectively respond to the national call for racial equality. It also includes forward-looking recommendations to advance a fair housing agenda and ensure everyone has access to safe, affordable housing in thriving, well-resourced neighborhoods. The main policy goals include: 

  • Dismantling residential segregation, offering real choice in housing and creating thriving communities; 
  • Eliminating the dual credit market and creating access to sustainable and affordable credit for all; 
  • Strengthening the nation’s fair housing and fair lending enforcement infrastructure;
  • Creating greater fairness in the housing and financial services industries.

The organization’s first goal of dismantling residential segregation includes more than a dozen policy recommendations for the president-elect and Congressional leaders for the first 100 days. The recommendations build off of NFHA’s Fair Housing Trends Report, which highlights the jeopardy the nation faces as a result of unprecedented attacks on fair housing and civil rights.

They include everything from re-establishing the President’s Fair Housing Council to requiring meaningful fair housing impact analyses to fill the nation’s affordable housing shortage and prohibiting lending institutions, housing providers and other entities operating in the housing space from accessing federal programs, subsidies, tax breaks or other government assistance if they have violated the Fair Housing Act or Equal Credit Opportunity Act. 

“The Biden-Harris administration must take bold action in the first 100 days to advance fair housing,” said Lisa Rice, NFHA’s president and CEO. “Withdrawing the Trump administration’s corrosive Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing and disparate impact rules and reinstating the former stronger rules is a critical first step. Over 4 million instances of housing discrimination occur in this country each year. We need the new administration to aggressively enforce our fair housing laws, especially as we reckon with our country’s long standing structural racism and its impact on all aspects of our lives. Our nation’s fair housing laws have never been fully enforced, and it is time for that to change.”

To advance these goals, in addition to reinstating HUD’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule and rescinding the 2020 disparate impact rule, NFHA says the new administration must vigorously use strategies like special purpose credit programs to address structural barriers that limit opportunities for underserved groups. Within the first 100 days, NFHA states legislation must also include the Housing, Opportunity, Mobility and Equity Act; the Housing Fairness Act; the Equality Act; the Neighborhood Homes Improvement Act; and the Fair Housing Improvements Act.

“The new administration and Congress must make the obligation to comply with the nation’s civil rights laws unequivocally clear and must rebuild confidence among the public that fair housing and fair lending rights will be vigorously enforced and protected,” states the action plan, adding: “We at NFHA look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration, the new Congress, HUD Secretary-designate Marcia Fudge and the heads of all federal agencies to implement these policy priorities.”

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