The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in January proposed a new rule that would weaken oversight and national data on fair housing initiatives in our communities. Under the proposal, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule that was first designed to help localities promote diversity and inclusivity under the 1968 Fair Housing Act and take proactive steps to reverse the effects of housing segregation would be rendered almost completely ineffectual.
The department has opened their proposal to public comments through March 16, allowing faith-based advocates and leaders an opportunity to challenge discrimination in housing as a moral issue.
Fifty years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, reversing racial housing segregation and home ownership rates has seen limited progress., Systemic inequalities continue nationwide. Housing, according to the Census Bureau, remains one of the most important indicators of middle-income wealth and impacts many other aspects of our lives – including education prospects, job opportunities, food access and much more.
The ELCA social statement Freed in Christ: Race, Ethnicity and Culture affirms that the church should support policies that guarantee the right to “rent, buy, and occupy housing in any place,” and address the forces that work against people of color in housing. Though far from guaranteeing equal outcomes, if properly enacted, AFFH could give localities improved guidance on how to enforce the Fair Housing Act and give all Americans a more equal opportunity at prosperity.
An ELCA World Hunger blog post further explains the history and impacts of AFFH. Please consider reading for more information. https://blogs.elca.org/worldhunger/hud_affh_rule_change/.
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