A coalition of housing groups have united in support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule that provides guidance and tools for cities and states that receive HUD funding to find local solutions to reverse segregated housing patterns.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), requires HUD and recipients of federal funds from HUD to affirmatively further the policies and purposes of the Fair Housing Act, also known as “affirmatively further fair housing” or “AFFH.” The obligation to affirmatively further fair housing requires recipients of HUD funds to take meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics, which are:
- National origin
- Sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation)
- Familial status
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) joins the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), and the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance (the Alliance) in supporting HUD’s proposed AFFH rule.
The rule improves upon HUD’s 2015 AFFH rule, providing for more robust community engagement, streamlining processes for funding recipients, and providing greater transparency. The proposed rule also places a new emphasis on expanding homeownership opportunities.
"NAR advocates tirelessly for policies that help close homeownership gaps and increase access to affordable homeownership for every American. Realtors are champions for diverse, inclusive communities where everyone can thrive,” said Kenny Parcell, 2023 NAR President. “By prioritizing robust community engagement, HUD can support communities as they find local solutions to local fair housing issues.”
The trade groups supported the first AFFH rule in 2015. All of the real estate groups encourage public and private policy that brings more Americans closer to homeownership, including updating credit scoring models, expanding down payment assistance and special purpose credit programs, as well as strong fair housing and fair lending enforcement.
The groups supporting AFFH have all provided research to help educate policymakers and the public about the challenges underrepresented homebuyers face, including NAR’s “A Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America,” NAREB’s “State of Housing in Black America,” NAHREP’s “State of Hispanic Homeownership,” AREAA’s “State of Asia America,” and the Alliance’s Discrimination and its Impact on the LGBTQ+ Community: Real Estate Professionals and Consumers.
“The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule is a critical tool for addressing the segregated neighborhoods that continue to exist, despite the enactment of the Fair Housing Act 55 years ago,” said Lydia Pope, President of NAREB. “This rule can ensure that state and local jurisdictions that receive federal housing funds incorporate fair housing policies in their communities. It provides a much-needed government push to address segregated housing patterns and promote diverse communities. The federal government needs this leverage to pursue more equitable communities and help close the racial wealth gap.”
Nuria Rivera, 2023 NAHREP President, added, “NAHREP supports HUD’s proposed AFFH rule because it reflects a deliberate, whole-of-government approach to the problems of housing affordability and homeownership access for Latinos and other hard-working, and creditworthy residents. We hope that the AFFH rulemaking revival results in better city planning that gives rise to policies that respect the overwhelming desire for homeownership for a greater number of Americans.”
Kurt Nishimura, AREAA’s 2023 National President, replied, “When it comes to housing, AREAA has always fought for a seat at the table for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. We have been and will be the leading voice for AANHPI real estate. We commend HUD for making progress on their commitment to advance housing equity and eliminate discrimination.”
Erin Morrison, National President and Chair of the Board for the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance, commented, "LGBTQ+ homeownership rates remain low and discrimination is an obvious barrier as sexual orientation and gender identity are not explicitly protected classes under the 1968 Fair Housing Act. The LGBTQ+ community is comprised of people from every race, creed and color and we are united with our friends at AREAA, NAHREP, NAREB and NAR in applauding HUD for their work."