NAACP Decries Weakening of Fair Housing Enforcement and Defunding of Fair Housing Programs
WHEREAS, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 is an essential component of our Nation's civil rights legislation intended to advance equal opportunity in housing and achieve racial integration for the benefit of all people in the United States; and
WHEREAS, private, nonprofit, fair housing centers funded by Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) are the frontline in the effort to resolve housing discrimination and train local housing providers on how to comply with the Fair Housing Act; and
WHEREAS, the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) funds fair housing grants annually on a non-competitive basis to State and local fair housing enforcement agencies which are used for complaint processing, administrative costs, special enforcement efforts, training and other projects designed to enhance the agency's administration and enforcement of its fair housing law; and
WHEREAS, the National Fair Housing Training Academy (NFHTA) seeks to ensure that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD or Department) and its state and local funded civil rights offices develop the capacity to employ the highest skills needed to conduct fair housing investigations; and
WHEREAS, fair housing education and enforcement play a pivotal role in increasing housing choice and minority homeownership and combating predatory lending; and
WHEREAS, it is plainly evident that the current Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (Secretary) intent is to cripple the agency's ability to promote fair housing throughout the United States, including by:
- attempting to remove from the HUD mission statement the goal of "…build[ing] inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination…";
- submitting a budget request to Congress that undermines the purpose and mission of the Department, including zero funding for the Public Housing Fund and proposed elimination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program and the Choice Neighborhood Program;
- terminating a number of high-profile HUD enforcement investigations into potential violations of the Fair Housing Act that began during the Obama administration, as reported by a number of national news organizations; and
- suspending the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Program ("AFFH"), which supported local leaders by providing them with resources in the form of guidance, a data and mapping tool, and technical assistance to support their planning success. The locally-driven process helps communities overcome persistent and growing challenges related to disparities in opportunity, fair housing choice and racially concentrated poverty, providing critical civil rights oversight for as much as $5.5 billion in HUD grants per year for almost 1,000 jurisdictions across the country.
WHEREAS, several fair housing advocates and civil rights organizations, including the National Fair Housing Alliance, Texas Appleseed, the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Public Citizen Litigation Group, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council filed suit on May 8, 2018, charging that the Department's suspension of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule violates the federal Administrative Procedure Act in a number of respects; and
WHEREAS, the NAACP in 2018 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act and the 30th anniversary of the Fair Housing Amendments Act.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP condemns in the strongest possible terms the efforts of the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to cripple HUD as a strong and viable fair housing enforcement agency; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP decries the Secretary's decision to suspend the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Program, and demands that the Secretary restore fair housing policies as a core function of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACPcommends the fair housing advocates and civil rights organizations that have challenged the suspension of the AFFH Program through litigation and calls on the Department to reinstate the AFFH program; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP demands that HUD restore robust funding to the Public Housing Fund, CDBG Program, the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program, and the Choice Neighborhood Programs; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP demands that the Secretary reinstate and vigorously pursue all HUD enforcement actions begun during the Obama administration that were pending but not completed as of January 20, 2017.