207 groups call on House and Senate leaders
to reject anti-fair housing riders in FY2016 funding bill
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance delivered a letter signed by over 200 local, state, and national organizations, public officials, and businesses addressed to House and Senate leaders urging them to reject any policy riders that strip local fair housing organizations and the federal government of the resources and tools they need to protect Americans from housing discrimination.
In June, the House of Representatives approved Fiscal Year 2016 spending bills for the Department of Justice (CJS) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) that:
Eliminate Private Enforcement Initiative grants under the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, the only dedicated federal funding for private nonprofit fair housing organizations to conduct local enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
Prohibit HUD from implementing and enforcing its recently released Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which provides much-needed guidance and data to local and state governments on how to meet their existing responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act.
Prohibit HUD and DOJ from enforcing HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule, which provides a unified legal standard for how to bring and defend against complaints against unjustified housing policies and practices that have discriminatory consequences.
“These policy riders make no sense and they strike at the heart of America’s civil rights enforcement infrastructure. Private nonprofit fair housing organizations use FHIP grants to investigate nearly 70% of all reported complaints of housing discrimination nationwide, and their investigations and testing result in filtering out meritless complaints that only clog up the administrative complaint process” said Shana Smith, President & CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.
“HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is nothing new, and it actually provides local and state governments with the guidance and data they need to help them create opportunities in their communities by removing barriers to fair housing choice – this is an existing requirement under the Fair Housing Act. HUD’s Discriminatory Effects rule implements a legal standard of bringing fair housing complaints that has been in use for decades, and that the Supreme Court just upheld.”
“The American people stand to lose the most if these riders are to become law. Congress should do away with these and other ideological riders with a clean Continuing Resolution and instead focus on removing the budget caps set by the Budget Control Act of 2011,” said Smith.