A groundbreaking partnership between two government agencies—U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA)— will address discrimination in housing and enhance federal enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.
HUD, historically charged with administering and enforcing the act, together with the FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding which HUD says is an important mechanism that strengthens the agencies' ability to enforce fair housing and fair lending requirements by promoting information sharing, coordination on investigations, compliance reviews, and the ongoing monitoring of the GSEs. The agencies, according to a press release from HUD, anticipate that the memo will lead to stronger oversight that will help advance vigorous fair housing enforcement that can begin to redress our nation's history of discriminatory housing practices.
"Today's signing is an important and historic step to advance and strengthen the enforcement of our nation's fair housing and fair lending requirements," said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. "FHFA oversees entities that have significant control over a large share of the mortgage market. Stepping up our collective fair housing oversight of their activities will make an enormous impact on lives and communities. I am proud to partner with Acting Director Thompson on this effort and advance the work that President Biden called upon us to do. We are prioritizing the work required to remove barriers that have created separate and unequal neighborhoods and limited access to housing opportunity and wealth building. I look forward to working with FHFA to make a meaningful impact in this space."
FHFA Director Sandra L. Thompson echoes the sentiment, adding that "FHFA does not tolerate housing discrimination."
She says the memorandum allows FHFA and HUD to share information and resources to improve fair lending oversight over the mortgage finance system.
"I am pleased to work with Secretary Fudge on the important work of fulfilling the Fair Housing Act's promise of equal access to safe, decent, and affordable housing for all Americans."
The full agreement is available at FHFA.gov.
Editor's note: This is a developing story, which will be updated as we receive reaction and new information.